How can car dealerships support people with disabilities?

In today’s technologically-advanced world, more solutions are becoming available to enable people with disabilities to not just get behind the wheel and drive a car safely but also those whom like myself still need a WAV but don’t drive themselves. And whilst more information around how to drive with a disability is becoming available online, it still remains the dealerships and salespeople responsibility to impart their expertise and ensure this demographic are catered to throughout the industry.

But what responsibilities do dealerships have in particular, and what should they be looking to do to ensure people with a disability aren’t left behind as the automotive industry drives towards a more sustainable future?

Here are three ways they can offer support.

Accessible facilities

Any modern customer-facing business has to be seen to be making necessary adjustments not only to their operations, but also to any facilities used by consumers and/or employees. At the most basic level, this will mean making accessible modifications to the building’s design, to ensure that customers are able to enjoy the experience – Move freely and independently around the premises. This typically involves installing ramps at entrances and exits, as well as accessible parking spaces and of course not forgetting having the right toilet facilities like a Changing Places which would cover all.

If you have cars inside a showroom, making sure there is enough space between, allowing for powered and manual wheelchair users safe clear access, Clearly signposting any facilities designed specifically for disabled users.

Information around adaptations

Modern technology and accessible adaptations are making it easier for disabled drivers to retain their independence, as well as keeping safe behind the wheel. There are so many options available that address many different needs as not one disabled person is the same, from hand controls for people who can’t use their legs freely, to steering aids for those who may have poor mobility.

These are just a few of the many adaptations that are available in all different types of cars. However, some remain unaware of the raft of options available. It’s important that the staff working at the dealerships are informed on all changes that can be made to different models, to allow buyers to make a more informed decision and find the perfect fit for them. Dealerships could also better support their customers by making this information more available online and in a handbook, which should also be designed with accessibility in mind.

Offer a test drive

Test drives are a common part of the car-buying process, but they’re even more salient for people with a disability, who may never have used certain adaptations before. Dealerships should always offer customers a test drive, since this is the best way to find out whether or not a car will be a good fit for them.

By offering test drives, dealerships could also be helping to remove some of the barriers to the uptake of electric vehicles amongst the disabled community. This allows eco-conscious drivers as well as passengers to keep up with the ever growing trend of sustainability within the industry, as governments and manufacturers seek to decarbonise transport in the not too distant future.

It makes sense for dealerships to create an accessible environment when buying or looking. Especially when the purple pound the spending power of disabled people and their families is worth an estimated £249 billion a year rising by 14%. 

What’s your thoughts?

Until next time

Kisses K

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