The Nuances of Parking a Wheelchair Accessible Van

I’m a complete C6 quad who drives from her power wheelchair. My wheels? Well, it’s a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan (in a sexy silver), with a Braun Entervan lowered-floor system. The driver’s seat is not there, but don’t freak. It’s supposed to be that way. Instead, I pull up behind the wheel in my chair, with the underside of my wheelchair automatically locking into the floor as I pull up all and snuggly near the wheel (thanks to my handy EZ-Lock lock-down system). It’s a great set-up. And to operate the gas and brake? Well, my van’s outfitted with pneumatic hand controls (“air-powered,” via a tiny motor located behind the back seat that fills up the lines with air). We live in an amazing age, folks. The technology available to us gimps allows us to do things people 100 years ago would gawk at in complete shock.

But it isn’t always peachy-keen in the driving world for me. I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve parked in a “van accessible” spot only to be blocked in by some oblivious, selfish American who is only aware of any living and breathing thing that’s in a 1 foot radius of them. It’s ridiculous. And I have a huge 6″x6″ sticker on the side of my van where the ramp is, just to let people parking next to me know that I need AT LEAST a 6 foot span between my car and theirs, in order to get in and out of my van without. I even know one paraplegic woman who’s devised an orange cones with strings device, that she puts up every time she parks, just to make sure the other idiots bumbling through the parking lot can blatantly see that she needs “this specific area” to remain unblocked.

Even this method though isn’t fool-proof though. There are still some selfish bastards out there that will not hesitate to put their car in park, hop out and move that poor lady’s orange cone blockade, then hop back in their car and park right alongside her van. And do you think they are even aware of why she erected those cones? Of course not. This type of selfish denizen has no time to waste pondering why people do what they do; and especially not the disabled people of this world. We’re the very last on their list of people they’d give a care about.  

So here’s what Miss Tiff has developed during her years of being a disabled driver: Park sideways!! Yes oh yes my friends, I’m that loathsome jerk parked in the back of the lot, not only parked at an angle, but purposely taking up two spots on purpose. Cause really, what other choice do I have? When I’m out driving, 95% of the time I’m alone and have no able-bodied person with me who will be able to back-up my van if I end up getting blocked in and unable to access my ramp. I just can’t take the risk.  

I simply have no choice: I have to be the jerkwad who double parks. The “van accessible” spots rarely prove sufficient.  

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