Story by Nazim Erdem
Is your vehicle just a means of transport or a hobby?
I have a VW Multivan ,which is my main mode of transport. Public transport is not readily accessible where I live on the Mornington Peninsula, so my van enables me to get out and about and maintain my independence!
Do you have any other vehicles, and what have you owned in the past?
As I live alone, there’s no need for other vehicles – the van is enough. However, I have owned a great number of different cars over the years. My favourite was my third car, which was a blue Mini Cooper S with a vinyl roof. It was a zippy little car, perfect for a cool young gal!
I owned a Honda Jazz when I first had my stroke – TAC installed a roof hoist for my wheelchair and also hand controls so that I could continue driving. I changed from the Jazz to the VW Multivan as my wheelchair was getting wet on the roof, and this was impacting my ability to get out.
What modifications do you have?
My van has had the sub-floor removed and a powered ramp installed on the passenger side. The middle seats of the van have been removed so that I have space to enter in my power chair from the ramp.
The driver’s seat has then been motorised so that I can move it back, for transferring from my power chair, and then forward for driving. I then use an over ring and contoured brake bar to drive. I do have the option to turn on standard driving controls if my carers need to drive. I then have a docking station in the void of the front passenger seat, which I drive my wheelchair into.
What would be your dream car or your Sunday car?
A Mini Clubman Wagon! Because it’s more compact and easier to park.
Any advice for others looking at setting themselves up with a modified vehicle?
When buying a vehicle to have modified, make sure it is exactly the type of vehicle that will meet your needs. Make sure you think about what these needs are when discussing options with your OT and the company responsible for the modifications. For example, discuss the size of the vehicle and how easy it is going to be to drive and park.
Also, consider the time it takes to get into and out of the car. In my case, sometimes I get just as wet waiting for the ramp to extend out and go up into the van as I did when I had the roof hoist on my Jazz. It is also important to consider ongoing costs, including insurance and servicing of the vehicle (aside from the modifications), and if there are to be any other drivers e.g. carers. Overall, my advice would be to do your research before committing to a vehicle.
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- May 2, 2023