Wheelchairs are used widely by people in the United States. Statistics show that more than 20 million people over the age of 18 have serious walking problems, with some of them having issues climbing stairs. This makes up about 7.1% of non-institutionalized people with disabilities. While using a wheelchair can make it easy for you to move around if you have walking difficulties, it can also present a problem in winter. Here are some winter weather wheelchair tips.
This can not be emphasized enough. It's crucial to dress properly in winter, especially if you are using a wheelchair. You must choose weather-appropriate clothes each time you decide to go out. To reduce the risk of getting wet, your top layer must be water-resistant in case of snow or rain. You must also ensure that your head and hands are covered warmly. For this, you can wear heavy waterproof gloves and a hat.
Improve Wheelchair Traction
It's also important to keep in mind that roads and sidewalks might get a bit slippery during winter. As such, you must keep a set of knobby winter tires on your wheelchair when winter hits. If you have a manual wheelchair, you will need an extra set of quick-mount wheels that you can use. Another good idea would be to get studded tires for extra traction. To improve things, you can also get a little air out of your wheelchair tires so you can increase the size of their surface contact area. This will come in handy on extra wet and icy surfaces.
Winter and Your Wheelchair Battery
If you use a power wheelchair, you must also keep in mind that winter is a bit harder on your batteries. This means you won't get as much distance on your battery as you used to. In fact, the winter weather will greatly diminish your range. This is because your wheelchair will need more power to push you forward because of the snow. So, before you leave home, you will want to ensure that your batteries are fully charged to avoid being stuck outside.
Keep Your Wheelchair Dry
If your wheelchair controller isn't waterproof, it's advisable to cover it with a joystick or plastic bag. This will save you a lot of trouble if it starts snowing while you are outside. The water from the snow might find its way into your controller and damage it, which will cause you to become stuck.
These are some important winter wheelchair tips to help you navigate the cold weather. Winter shouldn't be too difficult on you if you ensure that you are properly prepared each time you go out.