The main types of mobility adaption for cars are driving controls, hoists and lifts for getting into and out of the vehicle, and wheelchair hoists and lifts for moving wheelchairs or scooters in and out. Of the first, perhaps the most advanced form of adaption is the infra-red driving control. This essentially allows you to control all of the car’s secondary functions, the functions that do not relate to driving itself. What this means is that those who have trouble moving their arms away from the ten and two on the steering wheel can clip on a controller that allows them to activate and deactivate indicators, windscreen wipers, headlights and others.
For whose who have trouble with the car’s primary functions there are a number of other types of driving controls available including disabled hand controls for those who have trouble using foot pedals. These allow you to accelerate, decelerate or brake using a leaver rooted in the steering wheel mount. Also available are steering wheel balls, to enable you to steer with one hand, easy release mechanisms to make handbrakes easier to use, and pedal guards for those who suffer from muscle spasms to prevent the accidental use of pedals.
When it comes to people hoists and lifts there are far fewer options to choose from, but a far greater number of different manufacturers with similar products of varying cost and quality. People hoists essentially exist to make it easier to move from a wheelchair or other seat into a car. People with fewer mobility problems may nevertheless choose to install a person hoist as it can make life easier for you or your carer on some occasions. They can be bought as a backup even if one may not want to rely on them totally.
For those who do not have wheelchairs that fold away but perhaps rely upon scooters for mobility, another challenge is transporting the scooter away from home in a car. This is made possible by another mobility adaption: the wheelchair hoist. This allows heavy scooters to be loaded into a vehicle more easily. They are sold according to the various weights they are capable of lifting with the minimum being around 40kg and the maximum usually seen about 200kg. Some types of wheelchair lift are designed for lifting the chair with the person and others are designed for lifting the chair on its own.
Also available are roof top wheelchair hoists/lifts which allow you to load, and offload your wheelchair from the roof of your car from a seated position in the drivers seat. According to some manufacturers this can take as little as 90 seconds, and whilst driving the chair is kept securely on the roof, insulated from all elements. As you might expect this is perhaps one of the most expensive wheelchair hosts as well as one of the more expensive mobility adaptions in general, although few of them could be considered cheap. If you are having trouble paying for an adaption the two bodies most likely to give you a grant would be Motability and the government’s Specialised Vehicle Funds, although the majority of mobility impaired people are ineligible and will probably have to shoulder the cost on their own.