All posts by Anna

What You Need to Know Before Meeting with a Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialist

Rehabilitation Specialist

Many individuals have injuries or medical conditions that can reduce their ability to operate an automobile. Driver Rehabilitation Specialists (DRSs) are trained professionals who specialize in determining alternative driving options for people of all ability levels. A DRS can help a person drive safely and have the freedom to move about in life as they please. 

There are a few things you should know before meeting with a certified driver rehabilitation specialist.

What Does a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist Do?

Driver rehabilitation is a branch of occupational therapy. A certified DRS will typically have a college degree and will always have a document or badge confirming his or her certification. Driver rehabilitation has one fundamental goal: driver independence. A DRS works with clients to determine what adaptations must be made to the vehicle in order to produce the greatest amount of mobility.

Step One: Addressing Individual Needs

Each client presents a unique set of goals, preferences, and abilities. Some people may utilize a DRS if they need special hearing or vision technology. Others may have to become familiar with other types of adaptive equipment. Still others may benefit from general coaching as a result of aging, mental illness, or a brain injury. A driver rehabilitation specialist is thoroughly trained to assist with dozens of conditions and injuries.

What’s Involved in the Driver Rehabilitation Process?

A driver rehabilitation specialist begins with a comprehensive assessment. He or she evaluates necessary skills involving cognitive, visual, and physical aspects. If an individual meets the criteria to move forward, the next step is a driving assessment. The driving experience includes any needed adaptive equipment. For new drivers of an accessible vehicle, a course in driver education is included.

Driving plays a critical role in independence. With the proper guidance, individuals with limited mobility can enjoy the freedom of operating a vehicle. A certified driver rehabilitation specialist can assess and coach individuals in such cases. Consider the above points before meeting a DRS, then schedule an appointment with the Bussani Mobility team to continue on your road to independence.


5 Ways to Stay Connected to Family & Friends

Family & Friends

Note from the editor: Usually we focus on topics related to mobility in our Behind the Wheel blog. But today, we’re touching on something else that has affected us all.

It’s a new year, but not a lot has changed so far. We’re all still dealing with the uncertainty of an ongoing global pandemic with varying degrees of lockdowns and quarantines, as well as political unrest both here in America and across the globe. As a result, many people have found themselves struggling for months on end to stay connected with those they love. 

And yet, we know that social bonds are critical to our happiness and well-being. Our daily interactions with others can improve mental health, boost mood, and elevate our overall quality of life. So as 2021 begins, consider these ways to take small steps to stay connected to family and friends. Some of this might sound obvious, but sometimes we all need a gentle reminder or a reassuring nudge to find our inspiration.

Phone Call

Hearing the voice of a loved one can strengthen or renew a social bond. Text messages pass on information and ideas, but there’s something about a phone call that’s so much more personal, and that amplifies connectedness. Catch up on gossip, hobbies, and future plans. Not only can a phone call strengthen a relationship, but verbalizing your own thoughts and feelings often produces mental and emotional relief and benefits.

Video Call

When time and circumstances allow, a video call can take connectedness one step further than a phone call can. Any number of people can join a video call. Similar to in-person visits, this medium allows loved ones to show nuances and mannerisms that simply cannot be expressed in a text or voice communication. Video calls require a good internet connection and a video service; Zoom is the most preferred choice these days.

Family Web Page

You can build a family web page to keep up-to-date on family events, milestones, and conversations. Or use a social media platform (such as Facebook) to form an exclusive group for your family. Group members can share videos, photos, or type messages to the family. Once a group is created, you can (virtually) invite a tech-savvy member to help manage the page.

Group Text

A simple alternative to a web page, a group text allows for written conversations among participants. If your cellular plan comes with unlimited texts, a group text can be carried with you, even when there’s no internet available. For those who prefer to use the computer (and internet), a group chat can be established on several platforms, including Google and Facebook. Whichever method you choose, a group chat allows for quick messaging to help keep the family connected.

Write a Letter

Although it’s almost extinct in these tech-driven days, a handwritten letter adds a personal touch that technology just cannot replicate. Letters are often prized by recipients, and it’s not uncommon for people to store them away with other treasures. Set aside some time and energy to write a heartfelt letter to somebody who has been on your mind. A kind or motivational note can strengthen almost any bond. In addition, many individuals find the very act of writing to be therapeutic. 

Worldwide, people can counteract isolation and loneliness by staying connected socially. Keeping in touch with family and friends is possible through several media, including those listed above. Choose a method that works for you, and reclaim those social bonds. You’ll be glad you did.

At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping to improve the quality of your life. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our Blog and our Helpful Links pages. 

Also keep in mind that we’re communicating with our customers virtually, as well, when that’s their preference. We’re happy to have a Zoom call with you, and we’ll give you a virtual vehicle tour. Just give us a call whenever you’re ready.


3 Tips for Safe Winter Driving

Driving Tips

Winter is already here in the Northeast. And the cold, wet weather means that drivers should take extra precautions. Here are a few tips for safe winter driving.

1) Get a Tune-up Now

No one wants to have a breakdown on the road in the middle of winter. So take the time now to get a tune-up. You’ll feel better knowing that an expert technician checked all of your vehicle’s vital components. Fluids – including antifreeze, oil, and washer fluid – should be clean and full. A well-functioning heater is a must. Brake pads should have ample thickness. Cold weather can condense the air in your tires (and most blowouts are the result of underinflated tires), so the tire pressure is checked. Tire tread is also important for gaining traction on slick surfaces, and tires must be replaced if the tread is too low. Ramps and doors are also checked to make sure they are operating smoothly.

2) Be Prepared

Take a little time to prepare your vehicle so that you can respond to any unforeseen circumstances (like bad weather or other drivers making poor decisions) with confidence. Keep the gas tank at or above halfway – this eliminates the need for emergency pit stops in unfavorable weather. Ensure the spare tire is usable and properly inflated, and you have all the needed tools to change a tire. Tuck away emergency supplies in an easily accessible area, including a blanket, water, flashlight, gloves, snacks, cash, cellphone charger, and a First-Aid kit.

3) Drive with Extra Caution

Maintenance and preparation are good first steps, and then there’s the need to drive with added caution. Most importantly, we can all use the reminder to accelerate and stop more slowly in the snow and ice. Also leave extra space in inclement weather between your vehicle and others. And if the weather is too bad, just don’t go out until it clears.

It’s worth taking the time to check if your wheelchair accessible vehicle needs any maintenance or repairs before heading out into winter driving conditions. The team of certified technicians at Bussani Mobility is here to help. We want to make sure that you stay safe and secure on the roads in any type of weather.


How to Qualify for Financial Support for a Wheelchair Accessible Van as a Disabled Veteran

Bussani-Mobility-how-to-qualify-accessible-vehicle-disabled-veteran

Veterans have given so much in service to us all. And many have paid a high personal cost, often continuing to grapple with physical and emotional challenges resulting from their time in service. All too often, financial hardships accompany other issues, such as a disability. But help is available, and for instance, veterans with disabilities can qualify to receive funding for wheelchair accessible vehicles. Here’s what you need to know to get started.

Defining Disability

Each organization defines disability somewhat differently. While some offer broader definitions, Veterans Affairs (VA) is quite specific in what qualifies as a disability. For the purpose of accessible vehicles, Veterans Affairs describes disability as the loss of one or both feet, one or both hands, or significantly reduced vision in both eyes. You can check with your relevant organization for a list of qualifications.

Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers vehicle grants to veterans. Accessible vehicles may be funded, in part or entirely, by such grants. For those wounded in connection to their service, a grant may cover up to $21,000 of the cost of an accessible van or conversion equipment. Veterans who have non-service-related disabilities may receive funds toward devices assisting with vehicle entry.

Wounded Warrior Project

The VA-certified Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) acts as a liaison between veterans and assistance programs. Consultants help veterans with the application process and provide information regarding wait times, fund availability, and other useful facts. WWP representatives educate veterans so they can make the best decisions for their individual needs.

More Financial Assistance

Several charitable organizations offer financial assistance for veterans seeking an accessible vehicle. For instance, the Semper Fi Fund helps with a wide array of adaptive equipment that can improve the quality of life for service members with disabilities. Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH) exists exclusively to provide adaptive solutions for veterans who are wounded, ill, or injured. Operation Family Fund offers a wide array of benefits, including vehicles and/or adaptive equipment.

Veterans needing assistance can reach out to these organizations to receive help. For accessible vans, many grants are available, whether directly through the VA or through an independent charity. Such grants, and their accompanying services, allow veterans to regain their mobility as easily and affordably as possible. 

At Bussani Mobility, we understand the physical challenges that many veterans face and we know all about the funding resources that are available to help them find greater independence and mobility. We also accept VA funding for vehicle purchases. Stop in at one of our locations or call us today for more information about how we can help you or your loved one.


How to Prep Your Accessible Vehicle for the Holidays

Aerial view of red car driving through the white snow winter forest on country road in Finland, Lapland.

The holiday season is a time for family, friends, and feasting. Although this year will be a bit different with all the masks and social distancing because of COVID-19, many people will still travel to visit family members and celebrate together. 

With the upcoming holiday hustle-and-bustle and the looming cold winter weather, it’s more important than ever to have an accessible vehicle that you can count on. Follow the steps below to make sure yours is ready to go when you are.

Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance improves the longevity of your accessible van or SUV. Ensure the tires have adequate pressure and tread. Check fluids such as coolant, oil, and washer fluid. A fresh battery can help a vehicle start better on chilly mornings. The easiest thing to do is to schedule an appointment with the Bussani Mobility, and our expert technicians will take care of everything for you.

Mobility Equipment Maintenance

As with vehicle maintenance, caring for your mobility equipment is essential. Make sure all the bolts and screws are tight. Lubricate hinges so they move freely. Emergency preparedness should include checking straps and placing a belt cutter in an easy-to-reach area. For peace of mind, our qualified professionals will inspect and tune up your mobility equipment.

Added Comfort

After vehicle and mobility equipment maintenance are checked off the list, prepare for the holiday season by making the journey more comfortable. Check the cabin air filter and replace it if needed. Store a blanket for personal warmth. Keep the gas tank more than half full for worry-free driving in case of inclement weather or heavy traffic.

With a little preparation, your accessible vehicle can be ready in no time for holiday travel. We encourage you to schedule a routine vehicle maintenance visit now before the holiday rush starts. Remember that we provide free pick-up and delivery for added convenience. Learn more about our one-stop auto shop, here.


Should I Buy a New or Used Wheelchair Van?

Buy a New or Used Wheelchair Van

When considering an accessible vehicle purchase, first-time buyers and seasoned consumers alike face a crucial question: Should I buy a new vehicle or a used one? Here, we outline some considerations to help you make the best-informed decision when choosing between a new and a used wheelchair van.

Purchase Price

First and foremost, there’s a clear difference in price between new and used wheelchair vans, with new vehicles costing a good deal more. You could save $20,000 or more by opting for a pre-owned or a used van. This alone can be the deciding factor for people with limited budgets. 

Also note that, as with vehicles of all types, the value of a new accessible van depreciates significantly during the first year of ownership. So, selecting a newer-model “slightly used” van provides the buyer with an opportunity to save money while still driving a relatively new vehicle, perhaps only a year or two old. Deeper discounts can also be given based on model year, mileage, and other factors.

On the other hand, if you’re well set financially and can afford a brand new vehicle, you can proudly enjoy that “new car feel” (knowing that you’re the only driver), as well as the ability to customize it exactly as you wish and take advantage of the latest mobility technology.   

Reliability

Many potential buyers aim to balance cost with reliability, and they may view newer vehicles as more reliable than used vans. That sounds reasonable, but a trusted local mobility dealer ensures that every vehicle they sell is safe. Among their offerings are “certified pre-owned” vehicles that have been through rigorous inspection and testing for performance and reliability. 

Mobility van warranties are also an important aspect to consider, and you can find out more about them here. In addition, regular service (every six months is suggested) helps to maintain a well-functioning vehicle (both the van itself and the conversion equipment), whether it’s new or used. 

Repairs & Insurance

There are other factors to mull over when deciding between a new and a used van. For instance, used vehicles have a lower purchase price, but new vehicles tend to have fewer out-of-pocket repair costs. You have to decide for yourself how these elements balance out.

Insurance premiums also increase with the “value” of the van, so you can expect a used van to have less expensive insurance. 

It’s important for used-van buyers to do their due diligence. A local mobility specialist will help you secure the most reliable vehicle and conversion equipment for the best relative price.

New or used? We hope we’ve given you a few things to consider as you make your decision. The Bussani Mobility Team is standing by ready to assist you whenever you need or want help. Contact us or stop by one of our locations today for answers to all of your mobility questions.


Everything You Need to Know About Warranties for Your Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

Used Car Maintenance

Many people who buy a wheelchair accessible vehicle also opt to purchase a warranty. This can reduce or eliminate numerous maintenance costs for the life of the contract. Selecting and purchasing a warranty through a mobility dealer can be a smooth and simple process. More importantly, the mobility dealer will ensure that you know which plans cover your specific conversion.

Here are a few things to keep in mind about warranties for mobility vehicles.

OEM Vehicle Warranties

Many vehicle manufacturers offer warranties on new models. Vehicles are most likely to be eligible for warranties when the model is no more than four years old and has been driven fewer than 50,000 miles. 

When this period (as set by the manufacturer) has lapsed, an extended warranty is often available. The most common type is a powertrain warranty, which effectively covers the most expensive components of the vehicle, such as the engine and transmission. Powertrain warranties are popular because they allow buyers to enjoy their new purchase knowing that most major repairs will be covered. Warranties include parts and often labor.

These warranties do not include the mobility portion of a vehicle.

Mobility Dealer Warranties

As with the OEM warranties, mobility vehicle warranties also cover a majority of the components listed for the vehicle’s first three years/36,000 miles. 

The essential difference is the mobility warranty also includes the conversion. Like the vehicles themselves, mobility equipment can be purchased with warranty options. In many instances, mobility equipment must also meet similar eligibility requirements. 

Through a mobility dealer, it is possible to select a warranty on a mobility vehicle only or mobility equipment only, due to the age of one or the other; or you can choose a warranty package that includes both the vehicle and the mobility equipment.

The overwhelming benefit of the mobility warranty is ease of use. The warranties have been improved over the years to provide clients with peace of mind. They’re worth having, knowing that the fees of a local mobility dealer/mechanic or a garage you may visit on a cross-country trip are likely to be covered. With rental van coverage, lockout assist, and roadside assist, a mobility warranty offers everything that typically comes with an OEM warranty, and more. Payment plans are also an option.

Bussani Mobility will happily provide additional information on warranties, to help you decide what’s best for you and your vehicle. Feel free to contact our team for answers to all of your accessible vehicle questions.


A Sneak Peek at the New Wheelchair Accessible SUV Chevy Traverse – Coming This Fall

A Sneak Peek at the New Wheelchair Accessible SUV Chevy Traverse - Coming This Fall

Are you looking for an accessible vehicle, but you don’t want to drive a minivan or a full-size van? Coming this Fall, you have an exciting new option: the Chevy Traverse Wheelchair Accessible SUV. Here’s a sneak peek…

It’s Sleek

Built on the Chevy Traverse chassis, the Chevy Traverse MXV (Mobility Crossover Vehicle) is manufactured by BraunAbility, the leading producer of wheelchair accessible vehicles. This state-of-the-art accessible SUV is just what many buyers have been waiting for. It offers the sleek appearance and ground clearance of an SUV, paired with the accessibility and spaciousness of a van. See it here.

More Space

Riding in any vehicle should be a comfortable experience for all passengers. The 2020 Traverse MXV boasts exceptional rear cabin space, with increased ease and mobility for wheelchairs. It easily fits even larger powerchairs.

Prior to the Traverse MXV, the Ford Explorer MXV had been the frontrunner in crossover SUVs, but it was discontinued last year when the manufacturer changed the vehicle specs and it was no longer suitable for a mobility conversion. The new Traverse offers 46% more rear cabin space than the Explorer. 

Not only does the Traverse MXV offer a wide range of maneuverability, but it can accommodate two wheelchairs. Third-row seating is available as well. And the bench seat folds flat for extra storage space.

More Features

There are even more improvements with the newest MXV. The doorway and ramp are wider. The console slides side to side for extra room. And the fuel tank is on the driver’s side, which is unobstructed when the wheelchair or scooter ramp is extended.

As the market for wheelchair accessible vehicles expands, the products continue to evolve to meet consumer demands. The 2020 BraunAbility Chevy Traverse MXV is no exception. With this vehicle, people living with disabilities can enjoy freedom, the style of an SUV, and the spaciousness previously only found in a van. 

To learn more about the upcoming BraunAbility Chevy Traverse MXV, contact the Bussani Mobility Team today.


3 Tips for Safely Using Your Van’s Wheelchair Lift

Lift

Plain and simple, traditional vehicles were not designed for people who use wheelchairs or scooters. Fortunately, the invention of the wheelchair lift was a game changer in supporting a person’s mobility and independence. 

Lifts allow for safe and easy boarding of a van. If used incorrectly, however, they can result in serious injury. Here are some tips on how to safely use your wheelchair or scooter lift.

1. Always Strap In

Wheelchair accessible vehicles come with a variety of straps, belts and tie-downs that keep the passenger in place and avoid sliding in the vehicle. It is extremely important that whoever is using the lift is sure all straps and seat belts are utilized and securely tightened. Straps that are on but not tightly secured can lead to unwanted and potentially dangerous movement and injury. Always secure each strap and put on the seatbelt. 

2. Read the User’s Manual

Be sure to read all of the necessary safety manuals that come with your accessible vehicle. When you purchase or rent a wheelchair accessible vehicle, the manufacturer or dealer is required to include a manual that breaks down the step-by-step process for using the wheelchair lift safely. If you read it carefully and follow each step precisely, the transportation process from the road to the vehicle, and vice versa, should be seamless and safe.

3. Take Your Time

Always remember to take your time. Most instances where someone is injured on a wheelchair lift occur when the user is in a hurry and becomes careless. No matter the circumstances, slow down, take a deep breath, and board cautiously. 

And Don’t Forget Maintenance

One more important thing to keep in mind: Your wheelchair lift needs regular servicing, as does the rest of your vehicle. The full-service auto shops at Bussani Mobility are open. The COVID-19 quarantines have been lifted and people in the New York Metro area are moving about their daily lives again, but we also offer you the option of our picking up and dropping off your vehicle for servicing – while you stay home and safe.

The Bussani Mobility team takes pride in helping people living with physical disabilities to find greater independence and quality of life. For more information about how we can help you or someone you know, visit our website.


Top Accessible Beaches to Visit This Summer

Top Accessible Beaches
Summer is finally here. And there’s nothing like feeling a gentle sea breeze blowing through your hair and the warm summer sun on your face while enjoying a beautiful ocean scene. If you use a wheelchair, we want you to know that, with a little research, you can find accessible beaches with accessible boardwalks, beach wheelchairs, and long rubber mats that lead to the shorelines. 

Here are some of the best accessible beaches in the United States, and in New York state, in particular. Just a quick note first: If you’re planning on using your wheelchair accessible van for a road trip this summer, be sure to come to Bussani Mobility for a maintenance check beforehand so we can help keep you safe during your adventures. 

New York Beaches

Brighton Beach
Brighton Beach on Coney Island is a summer getaway for New Yorkers looking for a place to unwind from the daily stresses of life. It’s also perfect for tourists looking to cool down after sightseeing in the city. This beautiful beach welcomes all visitors. Like many of the other beaches on this list, Brighton Beach provides beach wheelchairs for anyone who needs them. 

Long Beach
One of the most wheelchair-friendly towns in New York, Long Beach is also called the “City by the Sea.” In Nassau County, just over the border from NYC, this beach town is really beautiful and easy to navigate. There’s plenty to do, from food to events to shops, and a classic boardwalk. All-terrain beach chairs and wheelchair Mobi-Mats are available upon request at all of the beaches.

Cedar Grove Beach
This beach is relatively new and has a modern flair. Cedar Grove is a smaller beach known for its charming and family-friendly atmosphere. It’s made more accessible with beach mats that provide a smooth, hard surface to make navigating the sandy shores in a wheelchair easier.

Orchard Beach
Orchard Beach is nicknamed “The Riviera of New York.” Located in the Bronx, it’s a high-traffic beach that offers both beach wheelchairs and beach mats for people who use wheelchairs. Always bustling, this beach is a great choice for those looking to have an active, good time.

Rockaway Beach
A popular summertime destination in Queens, here you’ll find a wonderful beach and annual events that include adaptive surfing, along with designated spots for saltwater fishing, and plenty of fun boardwalk activities and food spots. Beach wheelchairs and beach mats are available to rent.

Other Beaches Around the U.S.

Gulf Shores, Alabama 
As with most of the South, Gulf Shores, Alabama is tops as a gracious host, with its welcoming Southern hospitality. Here you’ll find friendly locals and pristine sandy beaches. To fully experience these beaches, you’ll probably want to rent a beach wheelchair, enabling you to travel along the shore. When possible, plan ahead and book a reservation for a wheelchair accessible charter boat, where you can go out into the water and see dolphins and sea birds up close. 

Panama City Beach, Florida
One of the appealing features of Panama City Beach, Florida is that you can go out and experience the beach in your own wheelchair. Take in the beautiful turquoise waters, and roll out the red carpet, also known as the Mobi-Mat. In Panama City Beach, you can roll directly from wooden walkway ramps onto the smooth rubber pathway, making the beach accessible for every type of wheelchair. 

San Diego Beaches, California
Located all around San Diego, there are over a dozen wheelchair-accessible beaches, including Coronado City Beach, Mission Beach, and Imperial Beach. At Coronado City Beach, the sand sparkles because of the mica (a gold-like mineral that’s found in abundance here). At Mission Beach, there’s a classic bustling boardwalk offering a variety of places to stop and grab a bite to eat. And Imperial Beach, located just four miles from Mexico, offers a serene atmosphere to take in some breathtaking sunsets over the Pacific. Not only does San Diego offer some of the most beautiful beaches around, but they also have motorized and manual beach wheelchairs free of charge for visitors, along with accessible parking and restrooms. 

Key Largo, Florida
Key Largo, Florida is also home to a variety of wheelchair accessible beaches. Here you’ll find golden and white sand leading right up to the water. Consider chartering a wheelchair accessible boat for an eco-tour. Because of its close proximity to the Everglades, tourists can see native mangroves, underwater coral reefs, and possibly an alligator lurking along the shorelines. 

Hanauma Bay, Hawaii
Hanauma Bay features 1,800 feet of breathtaking crescent-shaped beaches. This natural wonder is carved out among the cliffs of an ancient volcanic crater, with the beaches nestled up against a mountainous backdrop. It’s accessible via the road or a transport shuttle. The shuttle is recommended, as the steep road is known to burn out power wheelchair motors. Hanauma Bay also offers beach wheelchairs free of charge for those who want to explore and get close to the water.

Before You Go
Important note: Before you set out to visit any beach this summer, check with your local authorities to see if they’re open, as the global coronavirus pandemic is an ever-changing consideration that continues to affect our daily lives and the availability of outdoor activities around the country.

At Bussani Mobility, we’re all about independence and helping you get mobile. Our customers often become our friends and we want to provide information that builds a sense of community where we can improve accessibility for all, together. If you’d like to see more helpful resources, visit our blog. And, if you’re thinking about buying a wheelchair accessible van to improve your mobility, our mobility specialists are standing by ready to help.