WAVs Buying Guide: A List of FAQs About Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Answered

WAVs Buying Guide: A List of FAQs About Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles Answered


Everybody yearns for independence, whether going somewhere by yourself or completing a task unassisted. Yet when you live with a disability, even the slightest obstacle can significantly threaten your independence, especially regarding driving. Fortunately, with WAVs, freedom is becoming much more feasible for people with disabilities.

Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles (WAVs) provide mobility and independence for individuals who use powerchairs, power wheelchairs, or powered wheelchairs. These vehicles are specially designed to accommodate wheelchair users and offer accessibility features that make transportation more manageable and more convenient.

But if you’re considering purchasing a WAV, you may have several questions about its features, options, and benefits. Below we’ve created this list of frequently asked questions about wheelchair-accessible vehicles to help you make an informed decision – keep reading to find out more.

What is a Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle (WAV)?

A Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, commonly known as a WAV, is a specially modified vehicle that allows individuals who use powerchairs or other mobility aids to travel comfortably and safely while remaining in their wheelchair. These vehicles are typically equipped with features such as lowered floors, ramps, lifts, and securement systems to accommodate the wheelchair and ensure the user’s safety during transportation.

How Do I Determine the Right Size and Type of WAV For My Needs?

Choosing the right size and type of WAV depends on various factors, including the size and weight of your powerchair, the number of passengers, and your specific mobility requirements. When considering the size, ensure that the WAV has sufficient interior height, width, and length to accommodate your powerchair comfortably.

Additionally, suppose you have a partner or a carer who may need to travel (or drive) the WAV. In that case, you may also consider additional space for any caregivers or companions travelling with you so that they can travel comfortably alongside you.

As well as ensuring that your WAV caters to your individual needs, it is essential that the vehicle adheres to the regulations and standards for WAVs, which detail several essential steps you need to take before registering your WAV. However, providing that you’re working alongside a reputable WAV supplier, they will work alongside you to ensure the vehicle complies.

Are There Any Financial Assistance Options Available For Purchasing a WAV?

Just like a standard vehicle, a WAV is a significant purchase. WAVs are more costly than traditional vehicles because various organisations collaborate on their design to ensure it fits their intended user correctly.

However, this doesn’t mean you’ll have to remortgage your house to afford one; depending on where you live, various financial assistance programs support individuals purchasing a WAV. Including grants, loans, or subsidies to help offset the cost of vehicle modifications.

You can even find financial support directly from WAV suppliers, which enables those eligible to swap their mobility allowance for a WAV of their choice and includes maintenance, insurance, breakdown cover, and much more.

Plus, some grant providers supply other mobility aids which make getting in and out of a WAV more manageable, like the powerchairs from Mobility Solutions. Consider visiting their website for more information about the grant or to browse their entire catalogue of mobility aids today.  

However, always be sure to research and explore available options specific to your area to determine the financial assistance programs you may qualify for, as the last thing you want is for your application to be declined based on your location.

What Additional Features Should I Look For in a WAV?

When selecting a WAV, consider the accessibility features that will best suit your needs. This may include a ramp or lift system, lowered floors, wheelchair securement systems, and automatic door openers. Some WAVs also offer advanced technologies like kneeling suspension, which lowers the vehicle’s rear to reduce the ramp angle for easier access.

Can I Drive the WAV Myself?

Yes, so long as you hold a valid UK driving license, many WAVs are designed to be driven by the wheelchair user. These vehicles feature adapted controls, such as hand controls or joystick steering, allowing individuals to operate the vehicle independently from their powerchairs.

However, these features may differ between WAV providers, so it is paramount that the WAV you choose has the appropriate adaptations and controls that match your driving capabilities and preferences.

Can I Travel As A Passenger in a WAV?

Absolutely. WAVs are designed to accommodate both drivers and passengers in their wheelchairs. The vehicles provide secure and comfortable seating positions with various seating arrangements to suit your preferences and requirements. Some WAVs offer multiple seating options, allowing wheelchair users to sit in different positions within the vehicle.

Where Can I Find Reputable WAV Dealers or Manufacturers?

Reputable WAV dealers and manufacturers can be found online and through local mobility equipment providers. Conduct thorough research, read reviews, and compare options to find a reputable and trustworthy dealer or manufacturer. Consider their experience, reputation, customer service, and the warranties they offer.

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.