Vehicle adaptations East Anglia – the Invacar

Although vehicles have been modified for the disabled for many centuries, some of the more recent adaptations are relatively recent. Here Ransome Mobility takes a look at how vehicle adaptations have developed over the years – and the state-of-the-art examples which we can fit your vehicle with across East Anglia.

The 1940s

The 1940s was when real progress started to be made on vehicle adaptations. Although some cars were modified during the 1930s, it tended to be on a small scale, with modifications made to individual vehicles. It didn’t prove a great success as they were only fitted in cars with manual gearboxes, so disabled drivers only had one hand free for the steering wheel.

It was only after the Second World War that vehicles were adapted in larger numbers. General Motors and Ford in the United States started modifying cars for veterans who had been injured during the conflict. Examples of the adaptations they made included steering wheel knobs, extensions for secondary controls (indicators and emergency brakes) and different pedal configurations.

Two people were especially influential around this time – O.A. Denley, known as “Denny”, who crossed the Swiss Alps on a petrol-powered disability motor trike in 1947 even though he was paralysed from the waist down due to polio. He inspired many others to realise what was possible, even with a disability, and also founded the Invalid Tricycle Association, which later became the Disabled Drivers’ Association.

And fellow Briton Bert Greeves, with the help of his paralysed cousin, adapted a motorcycle into a powered wheelchair, using the engine from a lawnmower. He developed it into a commercially viable vehicle, known as the Invacar, pictured above. This was a three-wheeled vehicle that could be driven completely by hand using a chain, making it more accessible to some disabled drivers.

The 1950s

The 1950s was the decade in which vehicle adaptations became much more common and mass-produced. This was largely down to the influence of another former polio sufferer, Alan Ruprecht, who found the older types of hand controls difficult to use. He founded the Drive-Master corporation in the USA.

Ruprecht’s first invention became known as the Drive-Master Push Pull Hand Control System, which could fit in any car. Drive-Master soon began manufacturing other modifications, such as left foot accelerator pedals and pedal extensions.

The 1960s and Beyond

Vehicle adaptation developments continued throughout the 1960s. In this decade American wheelchair user Ralph Braun, who had spinal muscular atrophy, designed a hydraulic tailgate wheelchair lift which allowed him to get into a converted Jeep unaided and to drive to work (the Jeep also had modified hand controls).

In the 1980s, Canadian father Cliff Wolfe took this a stage further after his daughter, Elaine Anne, broke her neck in a swimming pool accident and became paralysed as a result. This lift used a platform which extended from the car and rose to slide her into the driver’s seat.

Developments and improved technology have continued to influence the modifications which are now available.

Vehicle Adaptations in East Anglia from Ransome Mobility 

The progress made over the decades is reflected in the variety of adaptations we can fit. For instance, we can install push pull hand controls in your wheelchair access vehicle. for those who can’t operate pedals in automatic cars, we also offer left foot and twin-flip accelerators.

The influence of Ralph Braun, and Cliff Wolfe, can be seen in the Carony Drive System which we offer – this allows you to drive your WAV direct from a wheelchair. And we can also fit steering wheel balls for those who have limited usage of their hands.

In recent years, we have taken advantage of scientific advances to offer modifications such as infra-red wireless keypad controls.

For a full list of the adaptations we can fit to your vehicle, click here.

Image: WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/BUCH T

Used Disabled Vehicles for Sale Suffolk - WAVs and ULEZ

There has been a lot of press coverage about the controversial Ultra Low Emission Zones, which last year were extended by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan. At Ransome Mobility, who offer a wide range of used disabled vehicles for sale from our Suffolk base, we take a keen interest in all issues which could affect our customers – particularly if you are driving in or around London. Here we take a closer look at ULEZ, and the exemptions which apply to wheelchair access vehicles.

What is ULEZ?

In a bid to improve air quality in the capital, the Mayor has extended the zones which, if you drive a vehicle which doesn’t meet emission standards, you have to pay a £12.50 daily fee, rather like the congestion charge.

This charge applies in all London boroughs, including Enfield in the north and Croydon to the south, but not on the M25 itself. Cars, motorcycles, vans and specialist vehicles (up to and including 3.5 tonnes) and minibuses (up to and including 5 tonnes) can all be liable to pay it.

However, the ‘Euro’ standards applied to vehicle emissions typically mean that petrol cars and vans registered after 2006, and all diesel cars and vans registered after 2016, won’t have to pay. Transport for London (TfL) has a vehicle checker if you aren’t sure what category your vehicle is in.

Note that there are similar schemes in Birmingham, Bristol, Oxford, Bath, Bradford, Glasgow and Portsmouth. More are being planned so this isn’t an issue which applies solely to London.

The Other Exemptions…

Lorries, vans or specialist heavy vehicles (all over 3.5 tonnes) and buses, minibuses and coaches (all over 5 tonnes) do not need to pay the London ULEZ charge, whatever their level of emissions.

And the good news for disabled motorists is that neither do owners of Wheelchair Access Vehicles, even if they aren’t compliant with the London emissions regulations – although there are some steps to take to ensure you don’t have to pay.

What You Need to Do

If your vehicle is a WAV, and it isn’t otherwise exempt, then it needs to be fitted with one of the following vehicle adaptations:

  • A permanently fitted foldable ramp or a powered lift allowing the wheelchair user to enter the vehicle
  • An electric or hydraulic hoist to lift a person or wheelchair into the vehicle
  • A swivel seat on either the passenger or driver side of the vehicle
  • An accelerator ring permanently fitted to the steering wheel.

The vehicle also needs to be registered with the DVLA in the name of the applicant and you need to provide images of your vehicle’s logbook (V5C), a photo ID of the applicant and three images of your vehicle’s permanent conversion for a disabled person’s use. You can only apply for a grace period for one WAV.

Also, you don’t have to pay If your vehicle is registered with the DVLA as being in either the ‘disabled’ or ‘disabled passenger vehicle’ class; you don’t need to do anything unless the vehicle is registered outside the UK, in which case you will have to give the details to TfL.

The good news, once you have done all this (whether it’s a WAV or in the relevant tax bracket) then your grace period lasts until 25 October 2027.

Used Disabled Vehicles for Sale in Suffolk from Ransome Mobility

At Ransome Mobility we have a wide selection of used disabled vehicles for sale; we supply to customers in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk and across East Anglia. Follow this link to check out what we currently have for sale; we also have some available for hire.

If you can’t find what you are looking for there, call us on 01473 727263 – we should be able to source your ideal vehicle thanks to our contacts in the motoring trade. And we can fit many different types of vehicle adaptations – including left foot and twin flip accelerators, steering wheel balls, and push pull hand controls ­– so we may well be able to adapt something from our existing stock.

Image: DAVID HAWGOOD/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

Wheelchair hoists Norfolk - from Ransome Mobility

Mobility aid hoists are an integral part of many wheelchair access vehicles, for drivers and passengers alike. Here Ransome Mobility, who fit scooter and wheelchair hoists for customers throughout Norfolk, Suffolk and the rest of East Anglia, outline a few of the key factors to consider when choosing which one to have fitted to your vehicle.

The Maximum Weight

You will want to ensure that you don’t break your hoist by overloading it. The weight of wheelchairs usually varies between 5 and 30kg. Although lighter ones made out of carbon fibre will come in at the lower end of the range, they will also be more expensive. At the other end of the scale, heavier ones will offer more stability and may have optional extras which aid your comfort.

Scooters are generally divided into small, medium or large. The first are usually only suitable for short trips (some are 30kg or even lighter) while the second category often tip the scales at around 70kg. You aren’t allowed to have anything heavier than 150kg unladen on the UK’s roads; this is because Class 3 scooters need to be registered with the DVLA before you can use them.

Two-Way or Four-Way?

Two-way hoists are most suitable for lighter wheelchairs. These systems, which operate on electric power and only move up and down, may be the best choice for most as they take up less space in the rear load area of your WAV.

Four-way hoists are suitable for bigger wheelchairs or scooters. As with two-way hoists they move up and down, but they also have the ability to move in and out, which helps you manoeuvre the mobility aid (whatever it is) into its final resting position. However, because they are larger, they will take up more boot space.

Fitting into the Vehicle

You need to work out the dimensions of your boot to ensure that whatever hoist you choose will not just fit inside your boot, but that you will have enough space for everything else you need for your journeys.

You also need to work out how many passengers you are going to carry. This is because you could be compromised on rear-seat space with a four-way hoist, so you may have to consider other options. At Ransome Mobility we can fit a range of other vehicle adaptations, such as the Carony Drive System where the user can drive the vehicle directly from his or her own wheelchair. Swivel seats or Carony Turnout Systems are other alternatives that we can fit, which will aid the user when it comes to getting into the vehicle.

Your Budget

A hoist is not just a significant investment, but an important one too, so you need to get it right. From a financial perspective, you get what you pay for. The more basic the model, the cheaper the price. Lightweight ones can be more expensive than you might think with some being made out of carbon fibre. And two-way hoists tend to be cheaper than four-way varieties.

Wheelchair Hoists in Norfolk from Ransome Mobility

Talk to us at Ransome Mobility and we will be able to help you choose and fit one that meets you and your passengers’ needs, at a price you can afford.

We have a range of both two-way and four-way hoists available. We have split our ranges into two; the 40 & 80kg Smart Lifter range is suitable for small, lightweight scooters and wheelchairs. If you want something that will cope with heavier wheelchairs and scooters, then click here to go to our 100, 150 and 200kg range.

If you need more information on any of the hoists mentioned, call us on 01473 727263 and we will be happy to help.

Used WAVs - Vehicle adaptations from Ransome Mobility

Buying any car is a major investment for anyone, including disabled drivers and their families. One of the biggest questions you will need to answer is whether to buy a new wheelchair access vehicle which has been specially adapted to your needs, or a nearly new or second-hand model.

Here Ransome Mobility, who supply used WAVs to customers in Suffolk, Norfolk and across East Anglia, point out the advantages of buying a vehicle that already has a few miles on the clock.

The Cost

Used WAVs are much cheaper than buying a new car and having it converted. This can be important if your finances are tight. It could be particularly important for those who are on lower levels of Personal Independence Payments (which has replaced the Disability Living Allowance), but who still need a car to get around. Insurance may be cheaper on a used WAV too.

All the WAVs we sell at Ransome Mobility come with a full warranty and after-sales support. And, given our high standards at Ransome Mobility, you don’t have to worry about reliability and breakdowns either. Our expert team offer ongoing servicing, MOTs and repairs, all on-site. And, while your vehicle is in the hands of our expert mechanics, we can offer you a courtesy car to get you back on the road.

And, if your finances are really tight, or you only want the WAV for a limited period of time, then we also offer vehicles for hire.

There’s No Need to Run it in

With nearly new and used WAVs, you don’t have to worry about ‘running in’ the vehicle in its first few miles. The AA recommends that you avoid harsh acceleration and heavy braking in the first few journeys. They also advise you to avoid revving the engine too much, keeping the rpm below 3,000 rpm for the first 500-600 miles. After that, you can increase it to 4,000 rpm (and even higher if necessary).

All of this ensures that the initial wear and tear on the engine’s moving parts takes place in a controlled way (and that you don’t use too much oil in particular). That can be quite a lot to think about, particularly with an adapted car. However, with a nearly new or used WAV, you don’t have to worry as it’s already been run in.

The Time Factor

With new vehicles, you’ll also have to wait for the conversion to take place. With a nearly new or second-hand WAV this is not the case because some vehicle adaptations have already been done, which is good if you need a vehicle quickly for essential trips.

You also won’t have to explain to the converter what needs to be done, and check what they have in their product range. And, even if you need a different adaptation, then you can rely on Ransome Mobility to be able to fit it. We can fit left foot or twin flip accelerators, push-pull hand controls, steering wheel balls and many other different types of driver aids.

The Greater Choice

You’ll have a much wider choice of models if you don’t restrict yourself to the new vehicle market. For example, you may have set your heart on a car which is no longer being made, but may still be available on the used, nearly new or second-hand market. And, even if it is still in production, it will be much cheaper to buy second-hand than new.

Buying Used WAVs from Ransome Mobility

At Ransome Mobility we have many years of experience in supplying nearly new and second-hand WAVs to customers across East Anglia.

We always have a number of vehicles for sale, which you can take a look at here. If you can’t see what you’re looking for there then call us on 01473 727263 because we may be able to source it for you thanks to our extensive network of contacts in the trade.

The price of petrol is volatile at the best of times, and never more so than at the moment. The reopening of the world’s economies following coronavirus lockdowns, followed by the conflict in Ukraine, has increased the price of oil. This in turn has fed through to the price we are paying at the pumps. Some motorists are now paying more than £1.55 a litre for their petrol, and diesel is even more expensive.

Ransome Mobility stock a range of nearly new and used WAVs for customers in Norfolk and Suffolk. Here we look at a few simple steps you can take to ensure you drive as economically as possible, which will help save you cash and improve your safety on the road.

 

Only Take What You Need

Weight is one of the biggest reasons why cars won’t do their advertised miles per gallon (mpg) figures. So have a good clearout of your boot and get rid of anything you don’t really need for the journey. (We appreciate that this can be difficult for some because hoists, mobility scooters and lifts all add to the weight of a car).

The same also applies if you have anything on the roof racks, as the ‘drag’ can also increase your fuel consumption.

 

Make Sure it’s Well Maintained

A car will only do its recommended mpg if it’s in good condition. So make sure it’s serviced regularly (at the very least during the recommended intervals). At Ransome Mobility, we offer a complete aftercare service so you can keep your vehicle in excellent condition.

This advice applies particularly to tyres. You need to check the pressure regularly and make sure they are properly inflated. You can inflate your tyres at many local petrol stations. Also, check the depth of the tread on them as well because the legal limit is 1.6mm per tyre.

 

Drive Carefully

Driving too fast is one way of using more petrol than you need to. Basically you need to drive in the fastest gear possible within the speed limit of the road you are on. Revving the engine too quickly will increase the fuel consumption, so make your gear changes as quick and as smooth as possible.

Try to anticipate the road conditions ahead, such as traffic jams and sudden slopes, so you don’t do any sudden or emergency stops. On the same note, driving uphill will always increase fuel consumption, so try to accelerate before you reach the base of a hill, then ease off as you drive up the slope.

Lastly, if your car has a cruise control fitted, it won’t always help to aid your fuel consumption. It only really works when the vehicle is on a flat and level surface like a motorway.

 

One Journey is Better than Two (or Three)

Your engine is more efficient when it is warm. Several different starts, particularly in cold weather, mean it will take longer for the engine to reach this temperature. So if you need to make a journey, make one long one rather than lots of shorter trips, such as combining a shopping trip with a work journey.

 

Watch the Heating and Air Conditioning

Having the heating or air conditioning on can increase your fuel consumption by up to 8-10%. Essentially when it’s switched on, the load on the alternator increases and it uses more power from the engine. So only turn it on when really necessary. And watch the windows as well. Having them open (maybe instead of switching on the air conditioning on) will increase drag putting an extra load on the engine and increasing fuel consumption.

Make sure you dress appropriately for the weather, even if you are at the wheel. Lots of thin layers will mean you can easily adapt your body temperature.

 

Motability Models

A study by What Car? Magazine has looked at the fuel consumption of various makes and models which form part of the Motability scheme. The models they discovered to be most economical were:

  • VW Polo
  • Nissah Qashqai
  • Ford Focus
  • Seat Leon
  • Kia Picanto
  • Seat Ibiza
  • Renault Kadjar
  • VW Up!
  • Suzuki Ignis
  • Toyota Yaris (the petrol-electric hybrid)

These tests were done on a ‘real-world’ route which included town, rural and motorway driving.

 

Used Wavs for Sale in Norfolk and Suffolk from Ransome Mobility

To check out our current range of WAVs for sale, follow this link. Don’t forget, if you can’t find your ideal vehicle there, thanks to our contacts in the industry, we may be able to source it for you.

We can also fit a range of vehicle adaptations to make a car suitable for you, including twin-fit and left-foot accelerators, steering wheel balls, and wheelchair and scooter hoists.

Wheelchair lifts are very different from more conventional lifts in a number of key ways – and not just in their names. Here Ransome Mobility, a leading wheelchair lift company in East Anglia, outline some of the key differences between the two.

 

The Name

Wheelchair lifts are also known as platform lifts. There are a number of varieties of platform lifts, including enclosed platform, open platform, and cabin platform. In each case, the name determines the shape and specification of the lift.

Conventional lifts are more commonly known as passenger lifts. It is possible to have a hybrid between these two types – one example of these are low-speed passenger lifts.

 

The Speed

Safety and security are the most important considerations when it comes to platform lifts. Generally, passenger lifts travel at more than 0.15 metres per second, which means moving lots of people between floors is a rapid and convenient thing to do. Wheelchair lifts, on the other hand, aren’t allowed to travel this fast according to the Supply of Machinery (Safety) Regulations of 2008. The slower nature of these lifts makes them feel safer and more secure.

 

The Size

Wheelchair lifts tend to be smaller and can’t fit as many passengers (although this is in part to do with the presence of a wheelchair). Some lifts are built just to take one wheelchair, and others may take a maximum of four or five (able-bodied) people.

Passenger lifts, in contrast, can carry a lot more people, usually eight or more. Eight is the most common because it is specified in the 2010 Building Regulations which cover lifts. As a result of their smaller size, wheelchair lifts are less expensive to install.

 

The Distances They Travel

Wheelchair and platform lifts are generally designed for low-rise buildings. They may be installed because it isn’t structurally or financially feasible to fit a passenger lift, but a mobility aid to get from floor to floor will still be required, either because of public access requirements or (in the case of private homes) because one or more of the occupants may be disabled or have mobility issues.

Passenger lifts are better suited to high-rise buildings and those with multiple storeys. Again, they are a much more efficient way of getting people from one part of the building to another. They are also much easier to fit into modern buildings because space can be allowed for lift shafts.

 

The Structural Requirements

Wheelchair lifts don’t need a lift shaft to be built and installed. They can be free-standing, and, as a result, do not need to be attached to any load bearing walls (although they can be). Like passenger lifts, wheelchair lift can also be attached to the outside of buildings as well as the inside, although for both types of lift, the vast majority are fitted inside.

One key point here is that wheelchair lifts are designed with one main user in mind (the wheelchair user). They can also be individually tailored to meet the specific needs of a user and the layout of the building.

 

Ransome Mobility – a Wheelchair Lift Company in East Anglia

At Ransome Mobility, we have many years of experience in fitting wheelchair lifts to homes and buildings in East Anglia. Among the types we supply and install, include the Wessex Step Lift (pictured above) and the Wessex VM Through Floor Lift. For more details on both, follow this link.

We are also stairlift suppliers in Hertfordshire and across Suffolk, Norfolk and the rest of East Anglia. If you aren’t sure which type of mobility aid you need, give us a call on 01473 727263, and we will be happy to discuss your requirements and help you find the right solution for you.

Vehicle Adaptations - Ransome Mobility

One of the most important considerations when buying a wheelchair access vehicle is being able to get in and out of it quickly and safely. Ransome Mobility have many years of experience supplying vehicle adaptations for nearly new and used WAVs to customers in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and all across East Anglia. Here are some key questions to consider when deciding on your access method.

Ramp or Lift?

The Advantages of Ramps –  First and foremost, ramps tend to be cheaper to buy than lifts, particularly if they are manual rather than powered. This is because lifts inevitably come with electrical components. Not only do these parts make lifts more expensive, there is much more that can go wrong, and, as a result, they will need more maintenance.

Some people also prefer ramps because they feel they have control over their movements, something that is not possible with a lift. A few people may even find lifts unnerving or scary.

The Advantages of Lifts – Although ramps tend to be cheaper, they require a lot of physical effort to set up. This means that anyone with a disability will need help, as will some older caregivers. Lifts alleviate this physical effort and can be operated by almost anyone.

Another factor to consider regarding a ramp is space. For example, although you may have room at home for a vehicle with a side entry ramp, will you have this at all the destinations you regularly drive to?

This can be an even bigger issue if you opt for a longer, shallower ramp because you will also have to consider the space you will need in the vehicle to store the ramp. Shorter ramps have issues too, namely the physical effort to manoeuvre or push a wheelchair up the steeper slope. So lifts save on both space and physical effort.

Unlesss you have a very large vehicle, you will likely have to reverse down the same ramp to exit. Again, some people may be scared doing this, especially if the angle of the slope is particularly steep.

Ransome supply a number of vehicle wheelchair lifts, including the latest Klearvue K-Series Wheelchair Lifts and the S-Series Wheelchair Lifts.

Rear or Side Entry?

If you are a disabled driver, then side entry is definitely a better choice. It is also the better choice if you do a lot of driving in town and park a lot on the street. This is because you will not have to worry whether others drives will leave the room needed for rear access. The access to and from the pavement that side entry provides makes it a safer choice too. Side entry also creates the added benefit of extra boot space.

However, rear entry is better if you tend to park in conventional parking spaces such as a multi-storey where there will be room at the back, but not at the sides. This is why beyond street parking, side entry vehicles will have to use designated disabled spaces

Pull Out or Sliding Doors?

Sliding doors can seem like the more attractive choice, especially because they can be opened in tighter spaces. However, the more complex mechanism may need more maintenance though than a conventional door over time.

It really is a question of choice because you will still need to manoeuvre your wheelchair in and out. So do plenty of testing first to see which you prefer.

Swivel Seats or a Carony System?

Swivel seats are particularly useful for people who still have some mobility because they improve access to the vehicle by rotating the driver’s seat towards the door. However, you will have to find somewhere to put your wheelchair during the journey. Ransome Mobility can fit both manual and powered swivel seats.

However, if your mobility is extremely limited, you may be better opting for one of Ransome Mobility’s two Carony systems. Our Carony Turnout system (as shown in the picture above) transfers passengers directly into or out of a vehicle. And our Carony Drive system  is a powered wheelchair that you can drive your WAV from.

Vehicle Adaptations from Ransome Mobility

Which of the above systems is best for you will depend on a lot of different factors. These include your disability, the type of trips you make, how many people will travel in the vehicle with you, and whether you are going to be a driver or a passenger. You also can’t forget your own personal style and taste.

At Ransome Mobility, we are experienced in fitting many different types of vehicle adaptations to different makes and models of car for customers in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and all across East Anglia.  Give us a call on 01473 727363 to discuss your needs, and we will come up with an access solution that best suits your needs. You can also contact us by clicking on this link and filling out our online contact form.

Used WAVS - Ransome Mobility

Winter is almost here, and with it comes a whole new set of challenges for disabled drivers and passengers. Ransome Mobility, who supply nearly new and used WAVs to customers in Suffolk, Essex and all across East Anglia, have come up with five top tips to help you stay safe both inside and outside your vehicle as the temperatures plummet.

Check Your Vehicle’s Overall Condition

To ensure that your vehicle gets enough grip, it is vital to check that your tyres are not too worn. If the tread on your tyres is less than 1.6mm, it is time to get them changed. While you are there, also check to see that the tyre pressure is in line with manufacturer recommendations.

With the increased risk of snow and ice, it is crucial that your visibility of the road remains good. Therefore, make sure that your windscreen wipers are functioning correctly, you have de-icer in the boot, and the windscreen fluid bottle is full. Never use boiling or hot water to clear your windscreen of ice because this can crack the glass.

Bear in mind that just as the cold weather can affect your WAV, it can also affect other disability aids such as wheelchairs, hoists, and lifts, so check these are in good working order too.

Pack Plenty of Essentials

Even if you regularly check your vehicle’s condition, breakdowns will still happen from time to time. That is why it is good to carry an emergency kit that contains a blanket, a torch, water and snacks, a first aid kit, and hi-vis clothing.

Running out of phone battery in an emergency can make a bad situation even worse, so always make sure it is fully charged before you set off on your journey.

One more thing to be careful about packing as the festive season approaches is Christmas presents. Don’t leave them in plain sight in your WAV because you may become a target for thieves.

Get Rid of any Ice and Snow

If you are not using your vehicle much, it is a good idea to turn the key in the ignition and let the engine run for a few minutes from time to time. This is because if it has not been used for a long time, it may not start when you really need it to. The chances of this happening increase on very cold and icy or snowy days.

Keeping your WAV in a garage will reduce this risk and save you time cleaning off snow and ice. Should you not have the luxury of a garage, using a special cover for your vehicle or even newspapers on the windscreen will limit the amount of ice build-up.

Failure to clear of snow and ice from your vehicle’s windows, roof, mirrors and indicators will not only increase your chances of being involved in an accident, but also of receiving a fixed penalty notice for driving your vehicle in a dangerous condition.

Give Yourself Plenty of Time – Wherever You’re Going

It is very easy to think right now that there will be much less traffic on the roads because of lockdown and virus precautions. However, it may still take longer to get to your destination than you think because of the road conditions. So keep a close eye on the weather, and to check the local traffic reports too, because an accident could delay you even if the weather is good.

Disabled drivers or passengers with mobility issues can be vulnerable to trips and falls on any surface – and especially if it’s in an icy or freezing condition. Therefore, giving yourself plenty of time also means you are not in a rush to get to your vehicle or to your destination, letting you tread carefully.

Brake and Accelerate Gently

In snow and ice you should drive more slowly and leave plenty of room between you and the car ahead. This is because breaking may take longer than normal. When you are parked up, or have temporarily stopped at a roundabout or set of traffic lights, one handy tip is to set off in second gear to avoid the problem of wheelspin.

When going up a hill, try to maintain a constant speed to avoid changing gear. When going downhill, slow down, use a low gear, and try to avoid breaking.

Nearly New and Used WAVs from Ransome Mobility

Ransome Mobility have a very large range of nearly new and used WAVs for sale to customers in Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, and all across East Anglia. We can also fit these with a range of vehicle adaptations, including steering wheel balls, twin-flip and left foot accelerators, and a range of scooter lifts and hoists should you need.

All our vehicles also come with MOTs and a minimum six-month warranty. If you would like to know more about our WAVs and ongoing servicing, call us on 01473 727263 or click on this link to fill out our online contact form.

Wheelchair Access Vehicles East Anglia - Ransome Mobility

As there have been a few changes in the law recently, Ransome Mobility, who specialise in vehicle adaptations for wheelchair access vehicles throughout East Anglia, have compiled this handy guide as to what disabled people are eligible to claim, whether they are passengers or drive their own adapted vehicle.

Vehicle Tax Exemption

You don’t have to pay your vehicle tax if you are already receiving:

  • The higher rate mobility component of the Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
  • The enhanced rate mobility component of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP)
  • The higher rate mobility component of the Child Disability Payment
  • The War Pensioners’ Mobility Supplement
  • The Armed Forces Independence Payment.

You can either claim the vehicle tax exemption yourself, or for a designated driver (who won’t be allowed to use the vehicle for their personal use). It is important to bear in mind that you can only claim it on one vehicle at a time, not multiple vehicles in one application.

You can also claim a 50% reduction in your vehicle tax if you get the standard rate mobility component of the PIP.

In all cases, whether you are claiming a full or partial exemption, you will need a variety of documents, including logbooks, MOT certificates and a statement from the Department of Work and Pensions about your PIP rate.

For more information, visit the Government’s own website (www.gov.uk), and go to the section covering disabled drivers.

VAT Relief on a New Adapted Vehicle

You may be able to buy a new vehicle VAT free under the terms and conditions of the VAT Notice 1002 ‘VAT Relief on Adapted Motor Vehicles for Disabled People and Charities’. However, there are lots of rules and regulations regarding what you have to be suffering from to qualify, and the vehicles that are eligible. The vehicle must also be ‘substantially and permanently adapted’ for you.

Don’t confuse the 20% zero-VAT reduction with any discount which the dealer is offering. The zero-VAT discount is an HMRC one to allow you, as a wheelchair user, to pay for the adaptations, which are also VAT-free.

Follow this link to one of our previous blogs where the situation is explained in more detail.

The Blue Badge Parking Scheme

This provides a range of benefits for disabled drivers or passengers who have difficulty walking. In 2019 the scheme was extended to cover so-called ‘hidden disabilities’ so that people with ADHD, epilepsy, amnesia, ME and autism could also receive one.

Those who receive a PIP or the higher rate of the Mobility Component of the DLA automatically qualify. People who have a disability that makes it difficult to walk very far may also be eligible, but they may need to provide medical evidence.

The badges usually last for three years, so don’t forget to reapply before the old one runs out. In England a badge costs up to £10, in Scotland it is £20, and in Wales it is free. Exactly how it works and what subsidies you get, depends on your local council – so contact them for more details.

The Motability Scheme

This can be traced back to the 1970s and the introduction of the Mobility Allowance (now the PIP). Today, it is split into a charitable arm and Mobility Operations, which allow disabled people to lease a vehicle under the scheme.

Ransome does not supply vehicles directly to customers under the scheme, but we are Premier Partners with Motability and are an accredited installer of vehicle adaptations.

Vehicle Adaptations from Ransome Mobility

Vehicle adaptations that Ransome Mobility can fit include twin flip accelerators, steering wheel balls and a range of hand controls. So, if you can’t find your ideal vehicle in our current range of WAVS for sale in for customers in  Suffolk, Norfolk and across East Anglia.  Let us know what you want, and we’ll do our best to either source it for you from our wide network of contacts, or we will adapt a suitable vehicle for your specific needs.

If you would like to know more, call us on 01473 727263 or click here and fill in our online contact form.

Ransome Mobility, as suppliers of used wheelchair accessible vehicles to customers in Suffolk and across East Anglia, take a keen interest in all motoring issues that affect disabled drivers and passengers – and this includes the Highway Code, which all road users, including pedestrians, need to be aware of.

The Government has made a few alterations to the code, aimed at protecting the most vulnerable road users.

The Background

The changes to the Highway Code, which are the result of consultations launched in July last year, in which 21,000 members of the public, businesses and government officials took part.

These consultations coming as part of a £338million package to get people out of their cars and either walking or cycling instead. This is why, along with the changes to the Highway Code that will apply to England, Scotland and Wales, there will also be more cycle lanes, an improved National Cycle Network (the UK-wide network of signed paths and routes for walkers and cyclists) and a series of health initiatives to encourage people to walk more.

What are the Highway Code Changes?

The Hierarchy of Road Users –  The first notable change creates a ‘hierarchy of road users’. These road users who can ‘do the greatest harm’ will have more responsibility to reduce the harm they can do to others. This includes not just larger vehicle users such as lorries and vans, but also cars.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles Suffolk - Ransome Mobility

Improved Pedestrian Safety at Zebra Crossings – The second change strengthens the priority for pedestrians on pavements and at zebra crossings. Drivers and riders should give way to walkers who are crossing or waiting to cross. The law originally stated that motorists only have to give way when a pedestrian actually steps onto the crossing. These changes are aimed at protecting the most vulnerable, including children, the elderly and the disabled.

Safer Passing – The third gives guidance on safe passing distances and speeds when overtaking cyclists and horse riders. This change will also ensure that cyclists have priority at junctions when travelling straight ahead.

Don’t Hog the Middle Lane – Another change relates to drivers guilty of middle lane hogging on motorways. A tweak to the rules in 2021 says “you should return to the middle lanes and then the left-hand lane when it is safe to do so”. Also on motorways, the Code strengthens the advice to motorists about not stopping on the hard shoulder except in an emergency. (The new code says drivers should also not stop on the carriageway, pedestrian crossings, cycle or tram-ways, and on any road marked with double white lines).

Why Does it Matter?

Not only do these proposed changes offer more protection to vulnerable road users, including the disabled, when they aren’t behind the wheel. Knowledge of the Highway Code is an essential requirement if you want to pass the theory element of the driving test (read our previous blog on changes to the theory test here)

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, when announcing the proposed new Highway Code, said: “Millions of us have found over the past year how cycling and walking are great ways to stay fit, ease congestion on the roads and do your bit for the environment. As we build back greener from the pandemic, we’re determined to keep that trend going by making active travel easier and safer for everyone.”

Used Wheelchair Accessible Vehicles from Suffolk-based Ransome Mobility

Ransome Mobility can source nearly new and used wheelchair accessible vehicles to meet the needs of all disabled motorists in Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire and across East Anglia.

We can fit a wide range of vehicle adaptations, including easy release handbrakes, steering wheel balls and twin flip accelerators. These driving aids are suitable for both able-bodied people as well as disabled drivers.

Follow this link to find out what vehicles we currently have in stock. If you can’t see what you are looking for, get in touch, and we will use our contacts in the industry to find your ideal vehicle. All our vehicles are thoroughly checked and tested before we make them available for sale, and we offer a minimum six-month comprehensive warranty.