Vehicle modifications exist for older drivers and those with special needs

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Richard Perry

■ Richard Perry / The Hemet Car Guy

Greetings from the Hemet Car Guy!

Not long ago, a friend from my church came to visit me with a difficult situation. She bought an expensive van, before she knew me (of course), that was not adaptable for her special-needs son’s wheelchair. Recently, we had a couple trade in a truck, and we noticed the passenger side had pillows situated to bring the person higher and an upside-down metal pot used as a stool to help climb in.
Many times, people buy a vehicle only to find out later it just doesn’t meet their individual needs. They wind up selling it, often at a substantial loss. If not, they may make unique modifications that at times are just unsafe.
If you are a caregiver or an older driver who needs a modification to your car in order to drive it, keep in mind that there are new adaptive technologies that continue to broaden opportunities for older drivers or those with special needs. People can enjoy the freedom of driving for a long time today comfortably and safely. Some of these adaptive technologies are as simple as swivel seats for more convenient access. Others, such as hand controls, may be necessary for a driver to safely operate a vehicle.
All drivers who are facing, or may soon face, age-related driving challenges should become familiar with the technologies available to support any special driving needs. With such a wide range of adaptive equipment solutions available, associated costs for modifying a vehicle can vary greatly depending on an individual’s needs. Some adaptive equipment, such as a special seat-back cushion, can provide a better view of the road for as little as $50. More complex equipment, such as hand controls, can be purchased for under $1,000.
However, a new vehicle modified with adaptive equipment will cost anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000. Yikes! (My friend from church found that out.) Whether you are modifying a vehicle you now own or purchasing a new vehicle with adaptive equipment, it pays to do your homework first.
Next week we’ll offer a few programs that are available to help pay for some of these pricey vehicle modifications.

Good driving!
The Hemet Car Guy

Richard Perry is The Hemet Car Guy and owner of VIP Autos in Hemet. For more information, visit www.hemetcarguy.info.

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