Navigating something as straightforward as getting in and out of a car can present significant challenges if you suffer from a disability or mobility issue. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to make a car more accommodating so that disabled individuals can continue to enjoy the benefits of driving or travelling as a passenger. In this article, we will explore six practical and affordable accessories that can improve car accessibility and comfort for people with disabilities.
Car seats are not designed to provide sufficient support for individuals with physical disabilities. However, there are various seating adaptations available that can greatly enhance comfort and safety. Car swivel seat cushions, for example, allow for easier transfers into and out of the vehicle by simply rotating the cushion towards the door, eliminating the need for uncomfortable twisting or stretching. Swivel seat cushions that sit on the top of an existing seat are a far more affordable option than a fully fitted electric swivel car seat.
Buy For £10 - £40
Comfort is a crucial aspect when trying to make a car more accessible for people with disabilities or mobility issues. Memory foam car seat cushions offer exceptional support and cushioning, which can alleviate discomfort during long journeys. These seats and supports conform to the shape of the individual, providing optimal comfort and reducing pressure points. Some also come with a heating function. By reducing physical strain and discomfort, memory foam car seats promote a more enjoyable and accessible driving experience for individuals with disabilities.
Buy For £18 - £62
For individuals with limited hand mobility or strength, a steering wheel ball, also known as a spinner, can greatly improve driving accessibility. This accessory is easily attached to the steering wheel and provides better grip and control over the vehicle. The spinner allows the driver to turn the steering wheel with minimal effort, making steering more manageable and comfortable. They are a cheap and simple adaptation that helps many motorists to maintain their independence and enjoy the freedom of driving, regardless of physical limitations.
Buy For £15 - £18
One of the most basic yet highly useful accessories is a car assist bar or handle. These sturdy handles easily attach to the vehicle's door frame, providing users with a stable support when getting in and out of the car. Car assist bars are designed to withstand weight and provide balance, reducing the risk of falls or accidents during transfers. They are portable, and most can also be used as a seatbelt cutter, car window breaker, and glass breaker if you are involved in an accident. This simple and affordable addition could make a significant difference by enhancing accessibility and independence.
Buy For £15 - £21
Similar to the car assist bar, a car assist strap is another practical and cheap accessory for people with mobility issues. These straps are typically attached to the vehicle's door, providing a secure and reliable grip for users when entering or exiting the car. Car assist straps are adjustable in length, so they can be customised to suit an individual’s needs. They can also be fitted to the armrest of the car door so it can be closed without overstretching. Their ease of use and affordability make them an ideal choice for enhancing accessibility in vehicles.
Buy For £6 - £8
For many wheelchair and mobility scooter users, car ramps are essential to help with the loading and unloading of their mobility aid from the vehicles. They are a comparatively cheap way of getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a vehicle, as long as you have a large enough vehicle and a low (or no) drop from the boot lip. Portable ramps can usually be easily folded and stored in the boot, allowing for simple deployment whenever needed. You also might want to consider investing in a boot lip and bumper protector to avoid any accidental scratches. If you're loading and unloading your wheelchair or mobility scooter many times a day you might want to consider fitting a more expensive boot hoist, but if it's just for occasional use a boot ramp could be just what you need to enjoy greater accessibility and the freedom to travel independently.
Buy For £45 - £235
By incorporating simple yet effective accessories like memory foam seats, car assist bars, car assist straps, steering wheel balls and car ramps, disabled people and those with mobility issues can experience improved accessibility, comfort, and confidence while travelling in a vehicle.
Of course, these simple adaptations will not be right for everyone, and it may be that you need the assistance of a local adaptation specialist or an assessment at a Driving Mobility centre, where a specialist will assess your needs and offer advice on more advanced adaptations.
Finally, some mobility issues can be solved by simply choosing the right car with the right specification. Features such as an automatic gearbox, push-button start, a reverse parking camera and a boot with an automatic tailgate could be what you need to make motoring easier
It’s all about making sure drivers and passengers are able to maintain their independence and feel comfortable and confident when travelling in a car.
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