This article will provide an overview of the vehicle modification process and introduce you to some of the most common options in vehicle modifications available today.
A driving assessment will be necessary to make sure that the selected equipment will meet all of your needs and to assure that you are safe to operate the vehicle.
A Certified Driving Rehabilitation Specialist will conduct the evaluation. Most rehabilitation hospitals will have a driving specialist on staff. Insurance companies will typically cover some, or all of the cost of the evaluation. If you contact a local vehicle modification dealer they can direct you to your closest driving specialist.
What do they test during the evaluation?
- Vision screening
- strength and reaction times
- Critical thinking and decision making skills
- Ability to consistently and safely operate the vehicle with adaptive controls
Once the evaluation is complete you will receive the adaptive equipment recommendations and any potential restrictions. Once you have the recommendations, you can visit a Vehicle Modification dealer to discuss making the changes to your vehicle or perhaps purchasing a new vehicle.
Things to consider when selecting a vehicle
You may decide that it is more cost effective to purchase a new modified vehicle rather than making changes to your current verhicle. Some considerations for a new vehicle are;
- Are you able to transfer in or out of the vehicle?
- Will you need a seat lift or a swivel seat?
- Will you remain in a wheelchair to drive?
- If you are using a lift or power ramp will it be easier to use a side or rear entrance?
- Will it be necessary for the vehicle to lower hydraulically to make entering the vehicle easier?
- Will you need to raise the roof to provide appropriate head room?
- What type of lockdown system will you use if remaining in the wheelchair?
How do I pay for vehicle modifications?
There are a few funding sources that cover vehicle modifications. If you are a veteran the Veteran’s Administration may cover some of the requested modifications. Many state managed vocational rehabilitation programs will help with costs associated with vehicle modifications. Workers compensation recipients may be eligible for funding.
What are some of the most common driving modifications?
- Wheel knobs, steering cuffs, v grips and foot control options are routinely used.
- Modified effort steering which significantly reduces the strength and endurance required to steer the vehicle is another common modification
- Hand controls can be added if the individual is not able to use the pedals.
- Pedal modifications can also be made if they are able to use one pedal or if you need to move the gas pedal to the left side.
Please use our Provider Locator Search to find a Vehicle Modification Specialist near you