If you’re one of these Americans, you encounter unique challenges every day as you navigate a world that is not always designed for a person in a wheelchair. As winter approaches in Mooresville, how do you maintain your safety and mobility in icy and snowy conditions?
If you need tips and tricks on how to navigate an icy world, check out this handy guide that we’ve created for you.
If you use a power wheelchair, there are special considerations you need to take into account that manual wheelchair users will not need to worry about in the winter.
To keep your power wheelchair functioning well during the winter in Mooresville, consider the following tips.
Keep it Charged
In the winter, the battery to your electric wheelchair will not hold a charge as well as when the weather is ideal. Additionally, as you head out into conditions where your wheelchair will be moving over ice or snow, you may use up your battery more quickly.
This is due to your wheels working harder to gain traction on slippery surfaces. Before you head out the door, make sure your chair has a full charge or that you have a backup battery.
You may also want to consider keeping a manual wheelchair in the winter, just to be sure.
Watch Out for Moisture
While the joystick on your chair might be water-resistant, it’s not waterproof. If you are heading out in the cold or where it might get wet, make sure you have a joystick cover.
If you do not have one, in a pinch, you could use a plastic grocery bag.
Yes, power wheelchairs have their own considerations. However, manual wheelchairs will encounter their own unique challenges in winters in Mooresville as well.
As you navigate the snowy and icy conditions in your manual wheelchair, consider the following.
You may want to consider purchasing snow tires for your wheelchair. For manual wheelchairs, tires that are wider with knobby treads and softer rubber perform better in the winter.
One of the recommendations is to choose pneumatic tires for the winter. This type of tire will allow you to decrease the air and improve traction.
If you don’t have snow tires and can’t get them right now, there are DIY snow tire tips and tricks that can help turn your current tires into snow tires.
All Wheelchair Users
Whether you use a power or manual wheelchair, there are several steps you can take to ensure you can remain mobile throughout the winter.
Consider the following before you head out into the cold in Mooresville.
Tune it Up
When was the last time you had your wheelchair serviced or repaired? While the problem may seem little now, over time, it will grow and impact your mobility.
If at any time your wheelchair is not functioning correctly, get the correct wheelchair repair service. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a manual or power wheelchair, there are important things you should be doing to maintain your chair and to ensure that you don’t get to the point where you need a hefty wheelchair repair.
Make Yourself Visible
The days can get dark quickly in the winter, and in very snowy conditions, you can be challenging to see. Knowing that drivers on the road will have limited visibility, you need to respond appropriately.
Before you head out the door, consider what you’re wearing. Does it help ensure you are visible?
What about your wheelchair? You can add headlights, taillights, and high visibility tape to help ensure you can be seen.
It’s a given that you should dress warmly in the winter. However, remember to wear layers.
You may even want to consider bringing extra clothes to ensure that you have clothes to change into if what you’re currently wearing gets wet.
Finally, protect your hands. Make sure you grab some gloves that are water-resistant, warm, and allow you to still operate your chair.
If you ultimately can’t get out the door, how can you prepare yourself? Make sure you have extra food and are prepared for the days where you need to stay home for safety.
When you do leave your Mooresville area home, follow the same principles. Be prepared for any circumstance. Make sure your phone battery is fully charged in case you run into an emergency and let someone know where you are going.
The Buddy System
If you’re getting ready to head out the door, take a buddy with you, especially on days that will make it harder to navigate. Having a friend with you can help you navigate tougher terrains and make for some good company.
As a community, how can you help your friends and family in the Mooresville area who utilize wheelchairs? There are several steps you can take to ensure that someone you love may have a bit of an easier day.
Clear Your Sidewalks
Ensure that your sidewalks are cleared and salted. This will help individuals who utilize wheelchairs have a safe space and the ability to get where they are going.
Make sure that you don’t forget the lowered sidewalk area, so that those using wheelchairs can actually get on the sidewalk.
Don’t force your help on anyone. However, if you do see someone struggling, ask them if they want help and how you can help them.
Wording here is important. Wanting help and needing help are two very different things. Make sure you phrase your question in a way that does not take away the independence of the person you are offering to help.
Keep Your Eyes Open
Knowing that visibility is limited in the winter, be sure to keep an eye out for individuals in wheelchairs. Crosswalks, entrances, and exits to lots are vital places to keep your eye on.
Safe Wheelchair Mobility This Winter in Mooresville
There are many steps you can take to ensure that you stay mobile this winter. Stay safe and stay warm as you head out into chillier days in Mooresville by following the steps discussed above.
Do you need service or repairs for your wheelchair as we head into winter? Freedom Mobility Center wants to help you keep moving. Contact us today about service for your wheelchair.