Disability Vehicle Conversion and Quality of Life

Driving or riding a car can be discomforting. The elderly and people with disabilities may even find it hard to get themselves inside the car. Because of that, they’d rather stay at home than travel. Unfortunately, this isolation lowers their quality of life.

If this goes on, this is bad news for both health professionals and the automobile industry. Thus, designs for accessibility are on the rise to assist people with special needs.

What is handicap vehicle conversion?

Vehicle adaptation is the designing or altering of cars to meet the user’s special needs.

Depending on the user’s needs, vehicle adaptations have different approaches. For example, cars may have hoists or ramps for scooters or wheelchairs. Some have stowing or loading mechanisms in them, too.

Drivers may prefer aids for speed control, steering, and signals. Further modifications may include signal readability, seat and doorway adjustments, anti-glare mechanisms, etc.

Why is there a need for vehicle adaptations?

Physical or cognitive impairment makes traveling inconvenient. One challenge is the manual transferring of a person from his wheelchair to the car seat. Aside from the fact that it is uncomfortable, it can also lead to accidents.

Auto designers can adjust the car seats and doorways or install ramps or hoists to ease transfer. By using this system, a person won’t have to rely on his caregiver. This helps boost his self-esteem and autonomy.

How do handicap vehicles improve quality of life?

Quality of life (QOL) is a broad concept. We do not limit it to good health but also to wellness. Factors like jobs, schools, housing, or, in this case, automobile use also contribute to QOL.

The goal is for a person to stay active despite his disability. In fact, traveling and driving are activities of daily living. By cutting this out from one’s lifestyle, it’s as if he’s not living a normal life anymore. This can lower his QOL.

Because of this, car designs should give room for some mobility and autonomy. Automotive engineers should take this into account when designing handicap-accessible vehicles.

One person’s concept of QOL can differ from another person. Thus, a designer should not use his industry-wide understanding of creating vehicles. Rather, he should identify the individual needs of each user.

For example, a person who finds it hard to use the steering wheels may need spinner knobs attached to it. Remote switches can help those having difficulty with the controls. If he can’t reach the buttons, he can have them moved. Those with vision problems may need enlargement, repositioning, or additions of mirrors. Also, those who couldn’t step on breaks can use hand controls instead.

Conclusion

Travelling should not be frustrating, especially for people with disabilities. A vehicle adaptation system can help resolve this traveling issue. But this must meet the individual needs of the driver or passenger. If traveling is comfortable and convenient, the person’s quality of life improves.

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