Road trips take a lot of planning. From plotting out the most scenic route, to finding quirky roadside attractions and unique lodging options, the devil is definitely in the details. And although everyone should plan for emergency situations, wheelchair-users and slow walkers need to take extra care to make sure they don’t end up stranded on the road. With that in mind, here are three must-have resources to make sure you’re road trip ready.
Adapted Vehicle Repair
Although anyone can have car problems on the road, the situation is intensified if you have adapted equipment installed on your vehicle. Finding a repair station that’s familiar with lifts, ramps and hand controls can be a monumental task, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory.
To that end the National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) has a great resource to help locate a dealer who is qualified to work on your equipment. Just surf on over to www.nmeda.com and search for a member dealer by zip code or location. And the great news is, all NMEDA dealer members can provide round-the-clock emergency assistance, because emergencies don’t just happen during business hours.
Towing & Wheelchair Repair
Nobody should leave home without emergency road service, but the sad truth is that most tow trucks are not wheelchair-accessible. And since it’s illegal to remain inside a vehicle-in-tow, you may literally be left on the side of the road if your van needs to be towed to a garage.
Enter the ADA Auto Club (www.adaautoclub.com). Not only do they provide all the standard auto club services, but if your vehicle needs to be towed they will also dispatch an accessible vehicle to transport you to the garage. Additionally, they will even dispatch a technician if your wheelchair or scooter ever requires repairs. They yearly membership fee is just $140, which is a small price to pay for peace of mind on the road.
Last but not least don’t overlook local highway assistance programs. For example, if you’re in the San Francisco Bay Area and have car problems just dial 511 and then say “Freeway Assist”. The call will then be transferred to the call center that answers calls from the roadside call boxes, and the appropriate assistance will be dispatched to your location.
This free program is able to help with everything from flat tires to an empty gas tank, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t know about it. Other counties and states across America have similar programs, so do a google search before you leave home. In the end a little pre-trip preparation goes a long way to having a safe and fun road trip.