Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • How Adaptive Equipment Helps People with Spinal Cord Injuries

    Most people go about their day without so much as a second thought in their minds as to how they will physically get around. Instead, they just hop in the car, jump on a bicycle, or take another form of mass transit. However, for those who have a physical disability, suddenly, you have to consider things that you never considered before.

    FACT: In 2016, there were approximately 282,000 people who were estimated to have a spinal cord injury. [source]

    Something as simple as operating a motor vehicle, cooking, doing household chores or even picking up your children for a hug - can all present a challenge where none previously existed. For this reason (and others), we proudly offer a variety of mobility products and adaptive equipment to help those with spinal cord injuries (as well as other physical disabilities) move around a little easier.

    by-shawncampbell-flickr-cc

    Mobility Equipment by Van Products

    Adaptive equipment comes in varying forms. From driverless cars and adaptive cruise control technology to equipment that can help a physically disabled person take a bath - there is no doubt that this type of specialized equipment is enhancing people’s ability to function in their environment.

    Van Products offers a variety of mobility products to help spinal cord injury patients (as well as other people faced with physical disabilities) more freedom of mobility to move around their home, place of business, or otherwise.

    Some of the mobility products we offer include:

    We know how important it is to be able to move around independently, which is why we only sell the best mobility products from top brands that you can trust.

    Helping Those With Spinal Cord Injuries

    The National Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Statistical Center reports that the annual incidence of SCI is approximately 54 cases per million in the United States or roughly 17,000 new SCI cases each year. People with spinal cord injuries benefit greatly from the use of adaptive equipment because of its ability to improve the quality of their lives.

    Because many people with spinal cord injuries suffer from complete loss of mobility or partial mobility, the use of adaptive equipment has become that much more important - especially when it has been customized to the unique mobility issue faced by that person.

    Part of this growing market of adaptive equipment is the use of handicap/wheelchair vans. According to Disabled-World.com:

    In recent years, technological advances have introduced automotive adaptive devices which either reduce the physical effort required to control and/or operate a vehicle or alter the way in which driver control initiatives are applied to the vehicle control systems. These adaptive devices provide the possibility of driving a vehicle for many drivers with disabilities.

    To learn more about spinal cord injuries, check out this spinal cord injury article by the Mayo Clinic. Live in the Raleigh, NC area? You can also get involved at the local level by visiting the North Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association (NCSIA).

  • Tips for Safer Driving

    by Rick Obst flickr ccAccording to the U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA),

    Each day in the United States, over 8 people are killed and 1,161 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver.

    At Van Products, we are all too aware of the threat that distracted driving poses to the safety of not only the driver but also the passengers and other motorists on the road - especially when it comes to our handicapped vehicles.

    This is why we work hard to provide all of the custom options you need, such as backup cameras, rain sensing wipers, and more - to help you navigate the roads more safely.

    3 Types of Distraction

    Before talking about the dangers of driving distracted and how to avoid it, it's worth mentioning that there are three main types of 'distraction' that distracted driving falls under. These include the following:

    #1 - Visual: Taking your eyes off of the road

    #2 - Manual: Taking your hands off of the wheel

    #3 - Cognitive: Taking your mind off of driving

    Tips to Avoid Distracted Driving

    #1 - Turn the phone off.

    Cell phones are the leading form of distraction while driving, and many states have banned the use of hand-held cell phones entirely.

    If you know that your cell phone is a distraction, switch your phone off before starting your car up. You may also consider turning the phone to silent mode and/or storing it out of sight/reach.

    You should only use your cell phone during emergency situations.

    #2 - Get plenty of rest.

    Another major hazard relates to sleep. Falling asleep at the wheel is more common than you’d think, and it can happen both at night as well as during the day.

    Drivers who are overtired are not as alert and may make careless and sometimes dangerous or deadly mistakes in judgment. Lack of sleep affects your reaction time, and many law enforcement officials draw comparisons of sleep deprived drivers to drunk drivers.

    If you find that you are tired while driving, get off of the road. If you’re traveling on a long road trip, stop frequently so that you can get out of the car and stretch. Try traveling with a buddy, or (if you have to), pull off into a safe area and take a nap.

    #3 - Avoid eating while driving.

    Did you know that spilling food is a major cause of distraction among drivers? Make time for breakfast or lunch from a stationary spot. If you absolutely have to eat in your car. Park your car and then eat.

    Keep in mind that when you are eating while driving, your attention is diverted (as is your hand(s), making you less attentive to other drivers around you.

    #4 - Avoid multi-tasking.

    Contrary to popular belief, most people are NOT multi-taskers. Keep important items that you may need (ex: GPS, cash) within easy reach before you drive away. This will avoid you having to search for items while driving. Keep your vehicle organized, and it will save you a world of trouble later.

    #5 - Avoid driving with too many passengers.

    You can’t always avoid having more than one person in your vehicle. Where and when you can, avoid shuttling around more people than you can manage. Keep in mind that the more people you have in your car, the more distracting it will be.

    Instead, avoid taking on multiple passengers at a time if you can help it. Instead, try embracing a little quiet time behind the wheel.

  • Commercial Transit Vehicles at Van Products

    Ford E250 Extended VanVan Products is proud to sell a line of commercial transit vehicles, completely upfitted to accommodate those who are wheelchair bound or who have mobility issues.

    Featuring multiple wheelchair securement locations and a variety of seating options, our commercial transit vehicles provide more options than ever for those who are faced with mobility challenges. Read more about our wheelchair van conversion features, specially designed for commercial transit vehicles.

    Commercial Transit to Satisfy Your Needs

    Everyone's transportation needs are different - especially when it involves mobility. At Van Products, our customers trust us to provide commercial transit solutions that meet their unique mobility needs. Currently, our leading commercial transit vehicle is the Ford E250 Extended Van.

    Some of the features of this van include:

    • Raised top with raised rear doors
    • Braun L919 wheelchair lift in rear
    • One piece fiberglass interior walls
    • FMVSS certified roll cage and insulation in double-wall raised top
    • Additional seating
    • And more

    Customizable Floorplans with You in Mind

    Whether you are a company that provides transportation for those with mobility challenges, or you are an individual with a wheelchair - Van Products mobility specialists will work with you to review all of the mobility options available. Your safety, comfort, and accessibility are our biggest concerns, which is why we offer flexible floor plans with multiple configurations, using seating and wheelchair securement floor tracks for maximum flexibility.

    When it comes to your safety and the safety of other passenger in your vehicle, we never make compromises. Before we even consider selling you a commercial transit vehicle, we put all of our vehicles through an extensive certification testing that fully complies with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

    Working Harder to Serve those with Wheelchairs

    Since 1972, Van Products has customized commercial transit vehicles to fit the unique mobility needs of physically challenged people throughout the United States. As an authorized dealer of BraunAbility products, we only sell the best commercial transit vehicles and upfits that the industry has to offer.

    Try It Out Yourself!

    We are well aware of the unique challenges that each of our customers (and their families) face when selecting a handicap vehicle. Commercial transit vehicles are no different. Companies (and some individuals) must select a commercial transit vehicle that meets the mobility needs of multiple people.

    Our mobility specialists take all of this into consideration when you speak with them. From there, we'll help you design and build a wheelchair accessible, commercial transit vehicle that is safe, secure, and meets the individual mobility needs of its passengers.

    Contact our mobility specialists today to find out more about the commercial transit vehicles that we offer, or schedule an onsite wheelchair van demonstration.

  • Safety While Driving - Knowing When it's Time to Turn in the Keys

    Being handicapped doesn't prohibit you from driving safely. In fact, one of the biggest risks to driving safely revolve around drug/alcohol impairment and age. Below, we take a look at some of the key signs to look out for, indicating that it may be time to turn in the car keys.

    by-Epicantus-flickr-cc

    5 Signs It May be Time to Give Up Driving

    #1 - You have difficulty seeing and/or hearing.

    As most people age, their vision naturally diminishes, making it more difficult to spot things in the distance or even throwing off their depth perception. Similarly, many people experience increased difficult in hearing. Not being able to hear properly is extremely dangerous as it makes it difficult (or impossible) to recognize important warning/safety signs, such as horns, sirens, or even screeching tires.

    #2 - Your reflexes aren't what they used to be.

    As you age, you may notice that your reflexes are a lot slower than what they used to be. This can pose a real danger to you as well as other motorists and passersby. While driving, you rely on quick reflexes to react to potential hazards. Not reacting quickly enough may result in an increased chance of getting involved in an accident.

    #3 - Medications

    Always check with your healthcare provider to be sure that the medications you are taking are ok to be taken while operating a motor vehicle. Many medications impair your ability to drive.

    #4 - Joint pain

    Chronic joint pain in your neck, hands, or knees can make it difficult to do a number of required safety actions, such as: check your side and rearview mirrors, turn your head to check a blind spot when changing lanes, or even reach the gas and brake pedals properly. Should and hand problems can make it difficult to steer and/or shift the gears in your vehicle.

    #5 - Mental changes

    While dementia isn't only limited to the elderly, it is still something worth noting as it affects mostly elderly people. If you experience any changes in your mental wellbeing, such as forgetting how to get home, or frequently getting lost or forgetting how to navigate to places that you once knew how to get to - it may be time for a checkup with your doctor.

    Remember that even with all of the technological advances (such as backup cameras, sensors, lane assist technology, and more), driving is a privilege -not a right.

    It is your responsibility as a United States citizen to consider not just the health and welfare of yourself, but also the welfare of those around you. Pay attention to the advice given to you from your healthcare providers as well as any observations made by family and friends. Most importantly, be honest with yourself to know when it's time to turn the keys in for the last time.

  • Bruno Curved Stairlift Protects Against Falls

    The Bruno Curved Stairlift is helping protect people from accidents and falls around their home. During the winter time, one of the top injuries that is reported at hospitals involve people falling.

    More often than not, falls occur during the winter due to ice and snow or other winter weather. However, falls also become a major concern as we age. If you have aging parents or relatives or know people who have limited mobility, it is worth speaking to the mobility specialists at Van Products about the Bruno Curved Stairlift.

    Benefits of the Bruno Curved Stairlift

    The Bruno Curved Stairlift offers unparalleled support for people who are faced with mobility challenges.

    Some of the features include:

    • Stability while traveling up or down stairways - – even during power outages
    • Optional Wrap-around “park” positions (ideal for narrow stairways)
    • Options to mount the stairlift on either side of the staircase
    • And more

    Mobility In & Around Your Home

    Your home should be a safe haven - a place where you feel comfortable moving around. You shouldn't have to let your mobility challenges get in the way of leading an independent life. Having the Bruno Stairlift not only prevents falls from occurring - it makes it easier for you to move around your home.

    5 Ways to Prevent Injury from Falls

    Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults. The Mayo Clinic gives some great tips for preventing injury from falls. We've included some of these tips below:

    #1 - Check in with your doctor.

    Keep a close watch on any medications you are taking that could impair your mobility, and make note of any changes in medication.

    If you’ve fallen before, write down the details at the time it happens, and be prepared to let your doctor or caregiver know.

    #2- Stay active!

    Physical activity can go a long way to prevent accidental falls. Stay hydrated, and with your doctor’s permission, engage in age-appropriate activities and exercises that work to improve and strengthen your balance, coordination and flexibility.

    The worse thing you can do is be sedentary!

    #3 - Wear proper shoes.

    If falling is a concern, consider the shoes on your feet. Women should avoid high heels (or switch to a lower heel). Avoid slippery-soled shoes and walking around in stocking feet. Also beware of flip flops or other types of footwear that can easily get caught up on surfaces or cause you to trip.

    #4 - Remove potential hazards from your home.

    Believe it or not, your own home can pose a threat to you falling! Remove any unnecessary clutter, such as boxes, phone and electrical cords and loose rugs. If you spill a liquid or food, immediately clean up the spill to avoid slipping.

    #5 - Check the lighting.

    Having a well-lit area can make it easier to see where you are going and avoid falling. Invest in night lights that are strategically placed in your bedroom, bathroom, and hallways. Place lamps within reach of your bed in case you have to get up in the middle of the night, and store flashlights in easy-to-remember places in the event of a power outage.

    View the Bruno Curved Stairlift in Action

    View an example of the Bruno Curved Stairlift below:

  • Protecting Yourself During a Vehicle Fire

    Like most people who spend a considerable amount of time in their vehicles - either driving to and from work, picking kids up from school - or even running your business out of your vehicle (ex: plumbers, carpenters, etc.), you should always make sure that your vehicle is packed with an emergency kit.

    Another thing that you should consider keeping in your vehicle is a fire extinguisher. However, just as there are different types of fires, so should you select a fire extinguisher that is most appropriate for your vehicle.

    What Type of Fire Extinguisher is Best-Suited for a Car?

    Most vehicles have the same types of fire hazards in common:

    • Gasoline
    • Electrical Components
    • Oil
    • Fabric (upholstery)

    The type of fire extinguisher you keep in your vehicle should be able to handle a fire involving any or all of these components. So, what kind of fire extinguisher is best for a vehicle?

    View the different types of fire extinguishers and the types/classes of fires they extinguish.

    When it comes to your vehicle, dry powder fire extinguishers are the best choice for a vehicle.

    WHY?

    The fire repellent contained inside of these types of fire extinguishers consists of a dry powder and are rated for use on any A, B and C or E class of fire. It will effectively extinguish fuel and electrical related fires, as well as fires involving upholstery and wood products.

    fire extinguisher by SmartSignBrooklyn on flickr cc

    Benefits/Uses of Fire Extinguishers in Vehicles

    #1 - Engine Fires

    Did you know that engine fires area actually considered electrical fires? Therefore, the type of fire extinguisher needed will be different than a fire extinguisher that is used to extinguish a chemical fire or wood-burning fire.

    You will need a fire extinguisher that is specifically designed for vehicles that will be able to put out the fire as well as prevent any further damage.

    #2 - Other Types of Fires Within Your Vehicle

    If you are one of many people who uses their commercial vehicle for business purposes, you may need to have different types of fire extinguishers professionally installed in your vehicle. For example, if your business deals with the transportation of chemical materials, you may need to have two separate fire extinguishers - one that is designed to extinguish chemical fires, and one that is designed to extinguish electrical fires.

    Always check first before carrying a fire extinguisher. If you are unsure, ask a professional which type(s) of fire extinguisher(s) you need to have in your vehicle.

    #3 - Help in the Event of an Auto Accident

    It’s not all that unusual to see or experience a vehicle fire in the event of an auto collision. This is mostly due to the fact that gas and oil combine with friction, sparking dangerous fires.

    Having a fire extinguisher can help buy time for you or for someone else to escape from your vehicle or potentially prevent a fire from becoming worse.

  • Volunteer to Help People with Physical Disabilities in 2017!

    This 2017, why not use your professional skills, expertise, or time to help those with physical disabilities. To help you get started, we're providing some great resources for volunteering.

    Have a volunteer story about how you made a positive impact in the life of someone with a physical disability? Let us know!

    by le vent le cri on flickr cc

    Ways to Give Back to the Physically Disabled

    Volunteers of America

    Enter your zip code to find local offices in your area that need volunteers. Needs range from supportive living services to in-home support services (assistance with personal care, money management, etc.) to specialized services (nursing care).

    Help from  Home

    Are you physically disabled or less abled to participate in traditional volunteer opportunities? Help from Home allows volunteers to give back within the confines of their own physical limitations.

    Activate Good

    Find volunteer opportunities in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina - both suited for those with physical disabilities to volunteer or for those who wish to volunteer to help those with physical disabilities.

    Volunteer Abroad

    Take your love for volunteering to another level by volunteering outside of the USA. This program is especially geared at empowering those with disabilities to volunteer.

    Service Leader.org

    This site provides valuable information and suggestions for working successfully with volunteers who have disabilities - from ensuring that you provide adequate accommodations to conversations.

    Go Overseas

    This program is focused on disabled care volunteer abroad programs that benefit children and teenagers with physical/mental disabilities.

    Network for Good

    Network for Good offers a number of ways to help people with disabilities. Search for volunteer opportunities with organizations close to your home.

    VolunteerMatch.org

    Find great nonprofit causes close to home that benefit those with physical disabilities. Simply begin by typing in your city and state.

    For more information about new or certified pre-owned wheelchair vans, contact Van Products today: 1-800-209-6133.

  • Winter Tips for People with Physical Disabilities

    #1 - Have an emergency kit (in the car, at home)

    Regardless of whether you have a physical disability or not, you should keep an emergency kit in your home as well as in your handicapped van or other vehicle.

    The items you choose to include in your emergency kit can vary, but many people choose to include:

    • Batteries
    • Flashlight
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Water
    • Blanket(s)
    • Clothing
    • First Aid supplies*

    *If you or someone you know has a physical disability, you will want to check with a physician to confirm what other items you may want to include in an emergency kit. For example:

    Backup supply for electrical-powered mobility equipment

    • Oxygen tank
    • Extra medications (prescription & non-prescription)
    • Hearing aids
    by-dlg_images-flickr-cc

    #2 - Have an emergency plan.

    Does your physical disability require the use of a service pet or caregiver assistance? Speak to your family, physician, and caregiver about an emergency plan in the even that there is bad winter weather or power outages.

    Consider nearby shelters, or hospitals that can accommodate your special needs should an emergency arise. Be sure that your neighbors are included and are aware of your needs, just in case assistance is needed.

    #3 - Avoid going outdoors unless absolutely necessary.

    In icy conditions, it is best to remain indoors. Roads are unsafe to drive on , and even if you feel confident in your driving abilities, you may not be able to predict the behavior of other drivers when there is inclement weather present.

    #4 - Keep your cell phone charged.

    Know that bad weather is on the way? Make sure your cell phone is fully charged. It may be helpful to have a backup battery for your cell phone just in case. Never charge your phone in your vehicle with the garage door closed.

    #5 - Be aware of the needs of your service pet.

    Just like humans, dogs can suffer frostbite and hypothermia. Avoid venturing outside, and avoid letting your dog outside for extended periods of time. If you do find yourself on the road, be sure to keep an extra blanket and extra water for your service dog.

    #6 - Dress in layers.

    When bad weather hits during the weather, it is always best to be dressed in layers in case the power goes out or in the event that you have to be evacuated from your home.

    #7 - Have a list of emergency numbers handy.

    Keep a list of important phone numbers handy. While it is great to include these phone numbers in your cell phone, it is best to also have them written down in a phone book and safely stored nearby (in case the power goes out or your cell phone dies).

    Be sure to let your emergency contacts know that they are your emergency contacts.

    #8 - Winterize your handicap van.

    Be one step ahead of any winter weather situation by making sure the gas tank in your handicap van is kept full. A full gas tank will help keep your fuel line from freezing.

    #9 - Consider alternative heating methods.

    Have a wood burning fireplace in your home? Make sure you keep your fireplaces and other heating sources cleaned and inspected regularly. In the event that the power is out for an extended period of time, you may be able to use alternate heating sources.

    #10 - Keep sand, kitty litter, or rock salt handy.

    Patios, front door areas, driveways, sidewalks, steps, etc. are all danger zones for people with and without physical disabilities whenever winter weather hits. Having sand, salt, or kitty litter to spread down can give more traction and prevent nasty falls.

  • MXV Gets Camo Wrap for 'Back in the Woods Again' Hunt

    Raleigh, NC (September 19, 2016) - 

    Van Products is a proud sponsor of the 'Back in the Woods Again' Hunt, an annual event aimed at providing disabled hunters with an opportunity to go hunting. This year, Van Products was excited to take a brand new Ford MXV SUV and outfit it in a customized camo wrap ahead of this year's 6th Annual event, which took place September 16 - 17.

    Starting off with a Clean Slate

    Pictured below, the Ford MXV Started off white, but it soon received a custom camo wrap at Executive Signs & Graphics:

    (Click on each image to view a larger size.)

    Ford MXV Gets Custom Camo Wrap

    In no time, the Ford MXV was completely transformed and ready for the Back in the Woods Again hunt. Take a look at the finished product below:

    (Click on each image to view a larger size.)

    About 'Back in the Woods Again'

    Founded by Tommy Estridge and Jerome Davis in late 2011, Back in the Woods Again is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aimed at providing disabled sportsmen and sportswomen with an opportunity to go hunting, despite being disabled. To accomplish this, Estridge and Davis partnered with private land owners in Chatham County, NC (as well as surrounding areas) in order to provide each of the disabled hunters with a great experience.

  • Wheelchair Accessibility on the Internet

    When searching for wheelchair accessible or handicap accessible places on the Internet, you should ask yourself the following questions, and pay close attention to the answers you find!

    by-SmartSignBrooklyn-flickr-cc

    Is there a wheelchair accessible entrance?

    As the person: Having a wheelchair accessible entrance is important because it will let you know if you will need additional assistance getting into the establishment.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' to this question if the wheelchair accessible entrance to the business is approximately one meter wide and does NOT have steps. If your business has one of more steps, you should have a permanent ramp. A moveable ramp is also acceptable. If your business has an entryway that only has revolving doors, you should always mark, 'No' to being wheelchair accessible.

    Is there wheelchair accessible seating?

    As the person: Especially if you are searching for a good place to eat dinner with family or friends, you always want to make sure that there are wheelchair accessible seating options. This ensures that you will have enough room to comfortably sit at and navigate the table.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' if the main area of the business can be access entirely without stairs and there is enough space for someone in a wheelchair to comfortably sit at a table. For example, if your business only had pub height tables, it would not be considered "wheelchair-friendly".

    Is there wheelchair/handicap parking?

    As the person: Having handicap or wheelchair accessible parking is important because of the proximity of the space to the place of business, but more importantly because wheelchair accessible spaces are wider to allow you to comfortably navigate getting into and out of your vehicle if needed.

    As the business: Businesses should only answer 'Yes' if you actually have designated parking spots for those with mobility needs, marked by an official placard, sign, and/or painting on the ground.

    Is there a wheelchair accessible elevator?

    As the person: It is unrealistic to expect every business or place that you visit to be on one level. However, it is reasonable to expect that if a business deems itself 'handicap-accessible' and is located in a multi-level building - it should have a wheelchair-friendly elevator.

    As the business: Businesses who are multi-storied and who claim to be wheelchair accessible should have an elevator that is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair + other passengers. If you do not have an elevator at all but have more than one story, you cannot claim to be wheelchair-friendly.

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