Wheelchair Accessible Vans, Handicap Accessible Vans, Mobility Impairment

  • Top Things NOT to Say to Someone in a Wheelchair

    Understandably, it can be difficult to put yourself in the shoes of someone who has a physical disability if you've never experienced it yourself. However, like most things, it helps to be a little thoughtful when communicating with someone who has a physical disability.

    The following are some things we don't recommend saying to someone who uses a wheelchair.


    Avoid Saying This a Wheelchair User

    #1 - You're such an inspiration.

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Keep in mind that wheelchair users are just regular people like yourself who are performing many of the same daily tasks that you are! Praising them for doing something that everyone does can sometimes single them out and make them feel uncomfortable.

    #2 - "I parked here because I just needed to run in and grab something quick."

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Parking your vehicle in a handicap space is a huge No-No. Keep in mind that handicap spaces are there for a reason. The few minutes it may take you to run in and do some light grocery shopping may be the exact moment that someone with a physical disability drives up looking for a parking space. Also keep in mind the fact that handicap spaces are wider/larger to allow people with physical disabilities enough room to safely get out of their vehicle.

    #3 - What happened?

    Why you shouldn't say it: 

    Unless you know the person extremely well, it is considered rude and inappropriate to ask someone a personal question about the root cause of their physical disability. If they don't offer first, don't ask.

    #4 - "I had to use a wheelchair when I broke my leg, so I know how you feel."

    Why you shouldn't say it:

    Everyone's experience with mobility challenges is different. Most importantly, you cannot begin to compare a broken leg (which is temporary) to someone who may have a permanent physical disability. The two are like night and day, and trying to compare yourself in this way is not only demeaning; it can be demoralizing. Don't do it!

    #5 - Don't squat down to talk to someone in a wheelchair.

    Why you shouldn't do it:

    Unless the wheelchair user is a child, you should avoid squatting down to speak to someone in a wheelchair. Many adult wheelchair users view this as patronizing. If anything, you can ask the wheelchair user if they would prefer you to sit down or remain standing. Whatever you do, do not assume!

    What are things can you think of? What sorts of positive actions can non-wheelchair users take when communicating with wheelchair users?


  • Bringing Freedom of Mobility to the Triangle

    image-by-mesaba-flickr-ccSince Van Products was founded in 1974, we have dedicated ourselves to providing high quality, wheelchair-accessible vehicles to the Triangle area.

    Whether you're a former military member, or you're a family member to someone who has a physical disability, we are committed to making your life more accessible.

    Providing Freedom of Mobility to the Triangle

    The advance of technology has brought us a long way in terms of accessibility and affordability, and today, there are more options than ever for those with physical disabilities to live more independently. From home automation to mobility products, such as stair lifts, scooters, and more- physically disabled persons no longer have to view their disability as a barrier to doing what they want to do.

    At Van Products, we are proud to sell certified pre-owned and new handicap vans. We only sell handicap vans that are from trusted brands, and we will only sell certified used handicap vans that have passed through a stringent quality assurance and safety test.

    From Our Family to Yours

    Unlike some handicap van dealers, we truly know and understand our audience. Our team of wheelchair van specialists in Raleigh (and in our Wilmington location) know what it's like to be disabled - either because they themselves are faced with a mobility challenge, or they have relatives or friends who are faced with mobility challenges of their own.

    Having said that, we are familiar and empathetic to the types of challenges that physically disabled persons face - especially when it comes to having what they need inside of their vehicle and outside in order to get themselves from Point A to Point B.

    We encourage you to stop by our Raleigh showroom today. Our showroom is interactive, and it will give you the chance to test out different mobility features for a variety of wheelchair vans that we carry.

    Have trouble making it to our Raleigh or Wilmington showroom? Talk to one of our mobility specialists, and we'll arrange an in-home wheelchair van demonstration.

    Freedom to Travel Where You Want, When You Want

    Don't let a physical disability be a barrier to you being able to do the things you want. At Van Products, we're here to help make sure your wheelchair van moves you wherever you want to go.

    Contact us today.

  • Interesting Facts About Ladders

    From firefighters to roofers to construction workers, landscapers, and more - many contractors use ladders as part of their daily routine. But how much do you actually know about ladders? Below, we share some interesting and fun information.

    by Newsum Antiques on flickr cc

    Fun Facts About Ladders

    #1 - Ladders have been around for a while.

    The first ladder was depicted in a painting in Spain, dating back at least 10,000 years.

    #2 - There are tons of different styles.

    Ladders are available in many forms ranging from: attic ladders, orchard ladders, and roof ladders to sectional ladders, cat ladders, Christmas tree ladders, and more!

    #3 - Ladder accidents are more common than you think.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, at least 50 percent of ladder-related accidents were due to individuals carrying items while they climbed. Additionally, each year, more than 900,000 people receive emergency room treatment from ladder-related injuries!

    #4 - There are 4 main types of ladder injuries.

    These include injuries related to: selecting the wrong type of ladder, using worn/damaged ladders, using ladders incorrectly, and placing ladders incorrectly. [source]

    #5 - Ladders have made it into the Guinness World Records.

    The world's longest ladder is made of wood and measures 135 feet long. It has 120 rungs and was designed by the Handwerks Museum in Austria in 2005. [source]

    General Safety Tips When Using Ladders

    #1 - Select the length carefully.

    Depending on the type of work you are doing, you don't want a ladder that is too short or too long because it can cause you to fall or lose your balance.

    #2 - Select the type of ladder carefully.

    For example, if you are doing roofing work, you may need an extended ladder. However, for other types of work, a straight ladder will be better. You'll also want to pay close attention to what material(s) the ladder is made out of. You may like it that one ladder is lighter and easier to carry, but it may not be safe to use for heavy duty work. If you are unsure, always consult an expert.

    #3 - Know the carrying capacity of the ladder.

    The total weight of a ladder is significantly greater when you're climbing it (especially with equipment/tools/clothing). Therefore, when selecting your ladder, look for one whose maximum carrying capacity matches what you'll need.

  • Benefits of Organizing Your Van for Business

    Being organized can pay dividends - especially if you own or use a commercial upfit. Most contractors know the importance of staying organized- whether they're at their home base or on the road. It can become very easy to get sidetracked when you're juggling appointments, clients, paperwork, tools, and other equipment.


    Benefits of Commercial Upfits

    Having a vehicle that has been commercially upfitted can be extremely beneficial to any business - from carpenters to rug doctors, to flooring salesmen, plumbers, and more. For many of these businesses, their employees are on the road 90 percent of the time. Take a look at some of the benefits of having an organized, mobile workspace:

    #1 - Your vehicle becomes your showroom.

    For some contractors who are on the road, their vehicle IS the showroom. Take flooring experts. They often bring samples of different flooring to clients' homes so that they may show them how a certain type of floor would look in their house. In some cases (depending on the size of the vehicle), they may actually recreate a small, living space to give the full effect!

    Having drawers, panels, and adjustable shelving is a must!

    #2 - You have a lot of tools.

    For people like plumbers - you don't have time to "run back to the office" to grab a tool that you forgot - especially if it's an emergency. Plumbers who show up to someone's home because their toilet is flooding the top floor of their house need to have the tools and equipment necessary to fix the problem, and they need that tool FAST.

    Having an organized van/vehicle where you can quickly refer to a drawer or shelf for an item is a must.

    #3 - You have bulky, heavy, or expensive equipment.

    For people like carpenters, organization is key - but so is having the space and the type of accommodations that will comfortably house and transport the type of heavy and/or expensive equipment needed to get the job done. Take roofers, for example. Their vehicles need to be able to carry long ladders, drills, and other equipment that help them do their job.

    Having a place for all of your items is important. You may need ladder racks that are adjustable for different sized ladders, or you may need shelving with drawers that allow you to house different sized nails and drill bits.

    Commercial upfits can do all of this and more.

    #4 - You want to keep track of your inventory.

    Believe it or not, being organized (especially when you're on the road a lot) can really help you keep track of all your inventory. Being able to manage your inventory effectively is an important part of making sure that all of your tools and equipment are accounted for and are in good working order.

    #5 - You want to look professional.

    Would you want to do business with someone who shows up to your home in an unmarked, beaten up van? Or, would you prefer to do business with someone who pulls up in a clean, well organized van with their company logo on the side?

    Looks are important, and being organized is a huge part of that.

    Commercial Upfits & Your Safety

    One of the most important benefits of commercial upfits is the safety it offers. A well-organized van/truck is also a SAFE vehicle. Image the kind of damage and danger you might be putting yourself (and other motorists) in by having loose tools in the back of your van. In the event of an accident or a sudden stop, unsecured equipment can move around and become dangerous objects that can damage your other tools/equipment or even other people.

  • 5 Ways to Make Your Commercial Upfit Safer

    Having a commercial vehicle has its advantages. You have plenty of room to organize all of your tools, paperwork, and equipment. If you're in the market of selling a service, a vehicle that has been commercially upfitted allows you to travel easily to customers and prospects to show them exactly what you're selling, making it more convenient for them.

    However, traveling safely (especially when you're traveling with quite a bit of expensive equipment) is important. The following are some safety tips to keep in mind.


    5 Tips for Traveling Safer

    #1 - Make sure everything is properly secured.

    There's a reason why commercial upfits come with custom shelving, adjustable racks, drawers, and more. However, it is a moot point if you don't do your own due diligence to make sure that everything is properly secured.

    #2 - Always leave your vehicle locked.

    Even if you're in what you think is a safe neighborhood, the last thing you want is someone (or something) getting into your vehicle. Be diligent about keeping doors locked, items out of view, and windows rolled up.

    #3 - Be sure your tires are in good, working condition.

    Tires are one of the most important parts of your safety on the road. Especially if you're mobile, you'll want to make sure that there is plenty of tread on your tires. Be on the lookout for underinflated tires as well.

    #4 - Be aware of noise in your commercial upfit.

    Believe it or not, it is important to reduce any noise coming from your commercial upfit as a way to improve your safety on the road. Noises can be distracting, and it can cause you to not hear other things that are happening outside of your vehicle. Many commercial upfits have a separate cabin that doesn't allow you to look behind you as easily to see what the traffic is doing. Therefore, take steps to be sure that all of your tools and equipment are secure, and consider installing sound-deadening panels to help quiet the ride.

    #5 - Check your exhaust system.

    One of the first places you may notice trouble in any vehicle is from the exhaust system. Be sure to keep up with oil changes, and regular tune-ups to help maintain a safe, quiet ride!

  • Van Products Captures Title at Bridge II Sports Wheelchair Basketball Tournament

    Van Products is a proud sponsor of Bridge II Sports, an organization whose mission is to educate, develop and implement opportunities for youth and adults with physical disabilities to play individual, team and recreational sports.

    This year, we hosted a wheelchair basketball team at the August Madness Wheelchair Basketball Tournament, and we are proud to announce that our team took home the title! We are incredibly honored to be part of such a wonderful event. Learn more about August Madness as well as Bridge II Sports below.

    About August Madness 2016

    August Madness provides opportunities for organizations to join the adapted sports movement by participating in an exciting day of wheelchair basketball while supporting the mission of Bridge II Sports!

    Through sports, Bridge II Sports is helping raise awareness of the abilities of people with disabilities.

    At the tournament, organizations (like Van Products) put together a team of 4 employees to experience the fun of wheelchair basketball and play in a double-elimination tournament on the floor at PNC Arena.  Each team then picks an All-Star 5th player  to join their team.

    Check out one of our "winning" pictures below, taken at this year's August Madness Basketball Tournament!


    About Bridge II Sports

    Bridge II Sports believes that your disability does not define who you are. Through their organization, they invite members of the community to come together in an arena of fun to discover an active lifestyle, regardless of ability. Here, disabled veterans have a great opportunity to train and be part of a competitive team.

    About the Valor Games

    Each year, Bridge II Sports hosts their Valor Games. The Valor Games is a competition for all disabled veterans as well as disabled members of the Armed Forces.

    A body changed by injury needs the discipline and challenge of physical activity to stay healthy physically, mentally and emotionally. It is the key to recovery and long-term health, and re-integration into your community at home.

    This year, the Valor Games Southeast was held at venues of historic competition and athletic excellence:

    Grant funding for the Valor Games is awarded by The Department of Veterans Affairs. The grants are provided to facilitate the growth of adaptive sport programming for disabled Veterans and disabled members of the Armed Forces.

  • Handicap Accessible Ford Transit Connect Conversion

    As one of the leaders of new and used handicap vans and other wheelchair accessible vehicles in the Southeast United States, Van Products is proud to sell a newly converted Ford Transit Connect Van.

    Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van by Van Products

    About the Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van

    Built by Ford, we took the Ford Transit Connect Van and converted it to make it wheelchair accessible for our customers who have mobility challenges.

    Though the Ford Transit Connect Van was initially built for commercial use, it also works well for handicap passengers. Our Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van features:

    • Rear entry
    • Lowered floor conversion
    • 800 lb. ramp capacity
    • Roomy interior
    • Rear liftgate swing up (for easy entry)
    • Meets ADA, FMVSS vehicle requirements
    • Comes with warranty
    • And more!

    Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van by Van Products

    Style, Comfort, & Safety

    At Van Products, the safety of our customers is our top priority. This is why we've equipped the Ford Transit Connect with all of the mobility features needed. Additionally, if there are other types of conversion features that you require, we will make sure you have them!

    The newly converted Ford Transit Connect is a great option for nursing homes, seniors with limited mobility, those who are temporarily disabled due to an accident, veterans, and others. Best of all, the Ford Transit Connect has plenty of space for wheelchair users and additional passengers. It will hold up to 6 adult passengers (including one wheelchair)!

    Whatever mobility features you can dream of, we're already two steps ahead! With the Transit Connect, there is no need to move the 2nd row of seating to add a wheelchair position. One of the key features of this conversion van is its convenient fold-up ramp system, which folds flat and stows away when not in use.

    Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van by Van Products

    Ford Transit Connect for Personal or Commercial Use

    One of the great things that we love about the Ford Transit Connect is its versatility. With our recent conversion, the Ford Transit Connect is even more versatile than ever, making it convenient for wheelchair users and families or for commercial use.

    Now, you can experience even more freedom of mobility with a wheelchair accessible vehicle that offers you ease of access, good gas mileage, plenty of room for family and friends, and other mobility features that make getting around town easier than ever.

    Stop by our Raleigh location today to experience the features in person, or request a demo of the Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van by filling out our simple, online form here.

    Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van by Van Products

    Contact Us Today!

    For additional information about the Ford Transit Connect Conversion Van, contact one of our mobility specialists today by calling: (919) 209-6133. Our mobility specialists will be able to provide you with answers to any questions you have regarding availability, cost, financing options, and delivery information for your area.

  • 6 NonProfit Organizations That Help Veterans

    Nonprofits do so much to help people in need around the country. Here are several nonprofit organizations that are working hard to provide assistance and support to our nation's veterans - both at home and abroad.

    Learn more about our Opportunities for Veterans to own wheelchair accessible vans.

    Army Combat Helmets assigned to Soldiers participating in the 2009 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition sit at the ready during the Urban Warfighting Orientation Course phase of the competition. The competition brought 28 Soldiers and non-commissioned officers from Guam to New Hampshire to Fort McCoy to determine the best of the Army Reserve. The Army Reserve winners will then compete in the Department of the Army competition held later this year at Fort Lee, Va.

    6 Nonprofits Making a Difference in Veterans' Lives

    #1- Veteran Tickets Foundation


    About: Vet Tix provides tickets to events which reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life.

    #2 - Soldiers Angels


    About: Soldiers' Angels provides aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, their families, and a growing veteran population.

    Thousands of Soldiers' Angels "Angel" volunteers assist veterans, wounded, deployed personnel, and their families in a variety of unique and effective ways.

    #3 - Wounded Warrior Project


    About: The Wounded Warrior Project mission is simple: to honor and empower Wounded Warriors.


    • To raise awareness and enlist the public's aid for the needs of injured service members.
    • To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
    • To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.

    #4 - Operation Troop Appreciation


    About: Operation Troop Appreciation is dedicated to the active and veteran members of our Armed Forces who serve and sacrifice for our country. By providing them with items that contribute to their morale and well being, we present a united front to our deployed military by supporting them as individuals, for every one of them.

    #5 - Hugs Project Incorporated


    About: Hugs Project Incorporated were the first ones to send cool ties (affectionately nicknamed “hugs” since they go around the neck) to U.S. troops in the Middle East. The nonprofit also sends care packages and other handmade items to our Service Men and Women.

    #6 - Veterans Airlift Command


    About: Veterans Airlift Command (VAC) provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots.

    Other, Related Posts:

  • Travel App for People with Disabilities

    image by GONZALO BAEZA on flickr ccFor people with physical disabilities, traveling sometimes comes with its own separate set of challenges - especially when you attempt to reserve hotel accommodations that claim to be wheelchair accessible but aren't.

    Matt McCann is hoping to change all of that. McCann is the creator of a mobile app called Access Earth, which allows people with mobility disabilities to rate restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions around the world based on how wheelchair accessible they are.

    The mobile app is still in the development stages and is already being touted as a sort of "TripAdvisor" for those with physical disabilities.

    About Access Earth

    Software engineer and wheelchair user, Matt McCann, first had the idea for Access Earth after booking a "wheelchair accessible" hotel only to discover that it was not wheelchair accessible. According to his interview with Huffington Post, McCann's goal is to give people who have accessibility issues a more "equal experience of travel." McCann, who has cerebral palsy, hopes that the mobile app will help other disabled people travel easier.

    McCann mentioned how one of the first issues that needs to be addressed is how hotels define the term wheelchair accessibility. He cites the example of how a hotel may have a fully wheelchair accessible hotel room. However, the remainder of the hotel is largely inaccessible to wheelchair users (example: hotel restaurants, hotel bars, pools, etc.).

    Helping People with All Disabilities

    Presently, the mobile app is only focused on those who have physical disabilities and mobility challenges. However, McCann hopes to add other types of disabilities in the future, such as cognitive, and sensory disabilities.

    Where to Find Access Earth

    Access Earth is available in beta here.

    You can follow Access Earth:

    Related Blog Posts:

    From Around the Web:

  • Making Better Mobility a Possibility

    At Van Products, we care about providing the best mobility services to our customers. We know, firsthand, what it is like to live with mobility challenges, and we work with you 1:1 to find the best mobility products to help you live your life more independently.

    by SmartSignBrooklyn on flickr cc

    Customized Mobility Products

    When most people see that someone has a handicap van or some other type of mobility product, they tend to assume that the person was involved in an accident that left them with the physical disability. They may also assume that the person was born with a disability. However, there are other situations that can result in someone needing mobility products. Some of these include:

    • Caregivers who are caring for elderly loved ones
    • Temporary disability due to injury
    • Mobility products or wheelchair vans for businesses
    • Military veterans
    • And more

    Wheelchair Vans: Providing Independence

    Perhaps the most important thing that our wheelchair vans and mobility products do is they provide freedom of mobility to all of our customers. Today, thanks to technological advances, physical disabilities don't have to hold you back from going where you want, when you want.

    Inside of homes, we have products, such as stairlifts, that help people safely navigate multiple levels within a house with ease and freedom of movement. There are also other types of products, ranging from wheelchair platform lifts to scooter lifts, and more. Regardless of the type of physical challenges that you face, our mobility specialists can work with you to find the right products and the right handicap van, fully customized to fit your unique situation.

    Ready to start your search for a handicap van? We strongly encourage you to speak to one of our mobility specialists. At that point, we'll sit down with you and talk in greater detail about the options: new handicapped vans, pre-owned handicap vans, conversion features (if you're converting a regular van into a wheelchair van). Below are some of the top brands we carry in our online inventory of new and used wheelchair vans:

    • Chrysler Town & Country
    • Dodge Grand Caravan
    • Toyota Sienna Econoline

    Related Blog Posts:

    Resources/Support Groups:

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