Ivan Nelson

20 Dodge Sprinter Interior Handicap Driving Features You Can’t Do Without

Written by Ivan Nelson. Filed in Disability Access Features

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1. Steering Devices

Some people with disabilities are more than capable of driving safely, but only if the vehicle’s controls are appropriately modified. Traditional steering wheels, for instance, may not be manageable by some drivers, necessitating the use of special steering devices.

The Dodge Sprinter comes equipped with traditional power steering, but it is possible to modify the wheelchair van for use with hand controls or other special steering devices. Those who are able to use a traditional steering wheel if the required amount of physical exertion is reduced can equip the Sprinter with low- or no-effort steering kits.

2. Power Seat Bases

Drivers who use wheelchairs may want to consider replacing the van’s standard front seat with power seat bases. These enable the seat to move automatically, as necessary, to afford greater accessibility to the driver’s or front passenger’s seat. They make it much easier to get from one’s wheelchair to the front of the vehicle and are an exceptionally popular adaptation.

3. Automatic Door Openers

One of the biggest challengers for wheelchair users can be dealing with their van’s doors. Most vans are built with the “average” passenger in mind. That means handles may be ill-placed for someone in a wheelchair. The heft of van doors can also be a real struggle for some disabled drivers. Dodge Sprinter owners can replace the standard van doors with automatic door openers or purchase the sliding door option, adding a powered device to it. This makes it possible to open and close the Dodge wheelchair van’s doors with the push of a button.

4. Hand Controls

Being unable to operate a vehicle’s foot pedals doesn’t need to be a barrier to driving. Wheelchair vans can be modified to use hand controls in place of traditional pedals. Dodge Sprinter owners can install these adaptations, which will allow them to accelerate and brake without relying on the use of their feet. These adaptations have long been popular on Dodge wheelchair vans and are a great way to improve accessibility.

5. Transfer Seat

You can use a ramp or a lift to get inside of your Dodge Sprinter, but how will you move from the wheelchair to the driver’s seat? If you don’t want to drive from your wheelchair, you may want to install a transfer seat. These seats pivot and adjust from a powered base to make the transition from wheelchair to van seat easy. They’re a popular conversion and improve Dodge wheelchair van access a great deal.

6. Raised Roofs

Many wheelchair van users have been forced to have conversion manufacturers raise the roofs of their vehicles to afford sufficient vertical clearance. That’s not necessary with the Dodge Sprinter. You can purchase a raised roof option straight from the dealer. The high roof Sprinter will provide more than enough clearance, even for the highest profile wheelchair user, which is one reason it’s an increasingly popular handicapped accessible vehicle choice.

7. Raised Rear Door

Some wheelchair van purchasers need to consider raising the height of their rear door in order to secure sufficient clearance for effective entry and exit. That isn’t an issue with Dodge Sprinter drivers, however. If one purchases the high roof version from Dodge, they’ll have a wheelchair van that offers more than enough space–right off the assembly line–eliminating the need for a custom conversion.

8. Raised Side Door

Some wheelchair vans don’t offer enough side door clearance to conveniently use a wheelchair lift of ramp. That isn’t a problem for those who purchase Dodge Sprinters, however. The full-sized Dodge wheelchair van (particularly in its high roof variation) provides more than adequate vertical clearance for any wheelchair user. That gives users enough space without adding to their conversion bills.

9. Remote Entry

It’s easier to get in and out of a Dodge Sprinter wheelchair van if it’s been equipped with power sliding doors and remote entry. With this conversion in place, the wheelchair user can tap a button on his or her keychain remote and the doors will open and close, as needed. That’s a valuable adaptation for wheelchair users who might otherwise struggle with heavy van doors and poorly-placed door handles.

10. Half-Dropped Lowered Floor

People lower the floor on wheelchair vans in order to make entrances and exits to and from the vehicle easier. Dodge Sprinter owners may opt to lower the back half of the vehicle’s floor for this reason. A half-dropped lowered floor isn’t always necessary, however. That’s because the Sprinter offers exceptional clearance (particularly in the high roof version) in its pre-conversion form. Some drivers of variations that lack the high roof may find a half-dropped floor valuable, though.

11. Full-Drop Lowered Floor

If you want to increase the available vertical space in a wheelchair van, you may opt to have your conversion manufacturer lower its floor from end to end, in what is termed a full-drop configuration. Dodge Sprinter owners often manage to avoid that particular modification, however. That’s because the vehicle offers adequate space prior to conversion. Those who purchase versions of the Dodge wheelchair van that lack the high roof may want to consider the adaptation, however.

12. Removable Seating

It’s nice to have removable seating in a wheelchair van. Being able to remove seats easily can guarantee the space necessary for the wheelchair and its user. The Dodge Sprinter offers a number of seating arrangements and it is possible to remove the seats, as necessary, to maximize accessibility. While not as easy to remove as some minivan options, the Sprinter offers much more space, which often reduces the need for extensive modification in this regard.

13. Rear Bench Seat

The Dodge Sprinter can be equipped with a rear bench seat to provide extra space for passengers. Owners who are converted with maximizing cargo space, or who plan o providing wheelchair access via a rear-entry ramp or lift may want to do away with the rear bench seat, but others will find it a wonderful way to increase the Dodge wheelchair vans overall occupancy.

14. Removable Driver’s Seat

Some wheelchair users may want to drive their Dodge Sprinters directly from their wheelchairs instead of using a more traditional driver’s seat. That’s easily managed by removing the driver’s seat and installing a means by which to secure the wheelchair in place. A removable driver’s seat can be a great asset. It can be moved in and out of the van based on whether the wheelchair user or someone else plans to be behind the wheel.

15. Center Passenger Seats

The Dodge Sprinter doesn’t really have a single set of center passenger seats. It has two! That’s because, unlike minivans, it’s possible to have three rows of seating behind the driving area. In many cases, the first and/or second rows are removed in order to allow sufficient space for access by the wheelchair van driver. Even when those center seats are removed or reconfigured, the Dodge wheelchair van still offers sufficient seating for additional passengers.

16. The Electric Tie Down

Getting into a wheelchair van is only part of the accessibility equation. It’s also important to be certain that the wheelchair user is securely fastened within the vehicle after access is managed. Electric tie downs are one way to do this. These special straps tighten via the use of a motor, effectively immobilizing the wheelchair. They’re a popular option for many wheelchair users who own Dodge Sprinter vehicles–both when the wheelchair plans to sit in the passenger area or when he or she plans to have the chair behind the wheel.

17. Manual Tie Downs

Sometimes, the simple way is the best way. That’s obviously how some Dodge Sprinter users feel about securing their wheelchair in place after gaining entry to the vehicle. Many owners rely on simple, traditional manual tie downs to get the job done. They’re cheap, simple and they do work. While there’s a great deal to be said for electric options and mechanisms like the EZ Lock, simple manual tie downs are still quite popular.

18. Four Point Tie Downs with Seat Belts

Once you’re inside your Dodge Sprinter, you’ll want to be certain that both you and your wheelchair are totally secure. One great way to do that is to install four point tied downs with seat belts. This system strongly secures the chair in place and the offers additional seat belt protection for its user. Although some drivers don’t utilize this model, those who do travel in their Sprinter with a great deal of security.

19. EZ Lock

Wheelchair-bound drivers who purchase Dodge Sprinters will want to carefully consider installation of an EZ Lock device. The EZ Lock is basically a “dock” designed to safely immobilize the wheelchair when the vehicle is in use. A bracket, fastened to the frame of one’s wheelchair, lines up with the EZ Lock base and “snaps” into place until released. It’s faster, more efficient and just as sturdy as any manual or electric tie down option.

20. Swivel Seats

Drivers who use wheelchairs may appreciate the installation of swivel seats in their Dodge Sprinters. These seats can pivot, allowing them to face the door or even the back of the vehicle. That extra flexibility can reduce the physical exertion necessary to enter or exit the van and can make the transition from wheelchair to seat easier.

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About Ivan Nelson

Ivan Nelson

Ivan is a true hero to countless men and women with disabilities who have been asking Ivan for years on ways and methods to overcome their disabilities and propelling their way to a new and fulfilled life. Ivan's expertise in disability rehabilitation for over 15 years is solid and his knowledge is always fresh from a different perspective.

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