Donating a Car to Help a Disabled PersonDecember 10, 2015
Many people with disabilities can drive; they simply need access to vehicles.
At Vehicles for Change, we can sometimes modify vehicles that can then be donated to disabled drivers.
Occasionally, we even get donated car that is already handicapped accessible. That allows us to award that vehicle to a disabled person.
The following are a few ways cars can be made accessible.
Lifts and ramps: Vans are often equipped with lifts for people in wheelchairs, and removable ramps can be fitted to the vehicle as well. This is especially helpful for families with wheelchair bound passengers or for people who are chauffeuring or shuttling wheelchair bound individuals. They can also be installed for wheelchair bound drivers, though these drivers will need further modifications to the car
Hand controls: Mechanical hand controls for speed and braking can be used by people with severe spinal injuries. Disabled persons can learn to drive them just as well as one can drive using foot pedals. By donating a car, you can help a disabled person, allowing them to enjoy the freedom and independence driving provides.
Reduced effort systems: For drivers with muscle weakness or similar problems, there are modifications that make steering, braking, and accelerating easier for the driver. This enables the driver to have the same level of control as any other driver and makes safe driving possible without taking too much effort.
Power transfer seats: These seats have incredible limits of rotation and adjustment, making it relatively easy for a wheelchair or scooter bound person to get in and out of a vehicle. This saves time for disabled persons and for their friends or family members, who might help them in and out of their car. It also gives disabled persons a greater sense of independence.
Left foot accelerator: For some people, driving is simple when they are able to drive with their left foot. Perhaps a damaged right leg, an amputation, or some sort of muscular or neural control of the leg, prevents them from driving a right-pedal vehicle. By donating a car, you provide a means of transportation that can be modified to suit the needs of the disabled driver.
The reason donating a car is so important for modifications to take place is because cars for disabled people can be expensive. Designing or customizing a car is often not financially feasible for disabled persons, unless a car is donated to them for that express purpose.
Furthermore, training is required for any person operating the modified vehicle, which takes further time and effort. Larger cars are perhaps most useful, considering the extra space they provide for storage of wheelchairs, crutches, or any other equipment a disabled person might need.
To learn more about donating a car for any reason, whether to help a disabled person or to help get a family out of poverty, contact Vehicles for Change.