Winter Safety Tips for Wheelchair Users

wheelchairs in winter

Not only do we have to face plunging temperatures in winter, but icy and snowy weather makes roads and pavements difficult to negotiate. For wheelchair users, as well as drivers and passengers of wheelchair access cars, frosty weather can be particularly challenging. Here Ransome Mobility Solutions, supplier of nearly new and used WAV vehicles in Hertfordshire and East Anglia, features eight winter safety tips for wheelchair users.

Check Your WAV

The first step is to make sure your wheelchair access car is fully equipped for winter driving. If the battery is more than five years old, it is worth getting it checked to see if it needs replacing; according to the AA, a flat battery is one of the most common causes of breakdowns in winter. Other essentials for winter are to check the tyre pressures have at least 3mm of tread and that you regularly top up with fuel, so you’re fully prepared in the event of delays.

Keep Yourself Warm

Wrapping up warm in winter is essential, especially if you are planning on spending a sizeable time outdoors. Be prepared and take with you everything you need to make sure your extremities are covered, such as gloves, warm socks and a hat.  A top tip is to layer your clothing so you feel comfortable throughout the day. It is worth keeping a spare blanket in the car, or better still a zipped seating bag, especially if you are going to an outdoor event.

Maintain Visibility

Whether you use a manual wheelchair, powered wheelchair or scooter, dark evenings and frosty conditions can make it difficult for other motorists and pedestrians to see you. It is worth wearing something reflective, if you can, so you can maintain visibility in winter.

Check Your Battery

Unfortunately, batteries for scooters or powered wheelchairs don’t last as long in colder weather. The best solution is to make shorter trips and to make sure your battery is fully charged before embarking on your journey.

Inspect Wheelchair Tyres

It is worth giving your wheelchair types a quick check to ensure that they are not worn or punctured. If the weather is particularly hazardous, it is possible to buy winter wheelchair tyres for manual wheelchairs online. It is worth bearing in mind that these are quite pricy and they’re generally only good for a couple of hours’ use (as they are not so forgiving on the hands).

Watch Out for Hazards

Keep watch of the pavements up ahead and try to steer clear of any icy patches if you can (often easier said than done). Try to stay safe when there’s snow on the ground by using dropped kerbs wherever possible.

Keep an Emergency Kit

It is worth packing an emergency kit to have with you in winter. This could consist of a fully charged battery for your wheelchair, water, snack, an extra pair of socks, a hat and a blanket. Don’t forget to make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before you go out of the door, just in case you need it.

Enlist the Help of Others

In extreme weather, it might not be possible to venture outdoors. If you live by yourself, ask a friend or neighbour to pop round to your home with items that you need; better still, in prolonged snowy conditions it is worth asking a friend or relative to stay over with you until conditions improve.

Stock up on Prescriptions

Advance planning is vital in winter so stock up on any pills, tablets or ointment you need, in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. You might want to ask your doctor to write out a prescription to cover you for a longer period, so you’ll never be without your medication.

Ransome Mobility Solutions sell a wide range of nearly new and used wheelchair access cars for customers in Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk. Just click on the link above to see the full range of small and large WAV vehicles in our showroom, or contact us above to find the perfect car for your requirements.

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