Getting around in the rain and snow
As the winter months start to roll in, streets and paths can become a difficult place to navigate your mobility devices. The pathways become slippy and unmanageable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters find it difficult to keep their grip on the ice and rainy days can leave you soaking wet. Despite the unpredictable and harsh weather ahead, this shouldn’t keep you in the house. There are solutions to help you.
We’re going to take you through the different ways you can get around this winter, making sure you don’t find yourself locked away in your home over the festive period.
Walking in the snow and rain can be difficult at the best of times but for those with limited mobility issues, it just makes the struggle far worse. It’s important that, when walking in difficult conditions, you give yourself additional support when walking around.
Most falls happen when people are off balance, so it’s important you find a way to keep yourself balanced. Fresh, crunchy snow is easier to navigate as it’s not as slippery but eventually it turns to slush or ice. Walking sticks are one option but they don’t provide you with a safety net if you stumble forwards. Zimmer frames or walking frames, however, give you the full support that you need. You need to remember to make small steps, there’s no need to rush when the surfaces are uneven.
Wheelchairs vary in their ability to cope with the snow and harsh conditions. Some wheelchairs can cope brilliantly, whereas others struggle to even move forwards through the tight and compact snowy paths.
It’s generally accepted that lightweight/transportable wheelchairs struggle to move through the snow. They’ve been designed to be transportable and easy to carry around and haven’t been built for tough conditions. You’ll need to look for more heavy duty wheelchairs, with good grip on their tyres and heavy duty frames.
The All Terrain Voyager comes fitted with large rear pneumatic tyres to help you navigate over uneven ground. It also comes fitted with a break for attendants which comes in use on icy paths. Despite this being a heavy duty model, it still folds away for easy storage and transportation. There’s also a lap belt to ensure you have that extra bit of safety when sat in the chair. So if you’re looking for a wheelchair to get you around safely this winter, then this is the ideal option for you.
It’s also important you stay dry when the rain sweeps in. You can invest in a waterproof wheelchair blanket providing protection from the wind and rain for your lower body, making sure you don’t have to stay in on rainy days.
Mobility scooters have similar struggles to wheelchairs, with tyres tending to get stuck in the snow or skidding on the ice depending on which mobility scooter you opt to use. Lightweight models will struggle to form any sort of grip on the snow so you’ll be lucky to get anywhere.
Your best bet is to look into road legal mobility scooters due to their heavy duty nature. They’ve been built to tackle the roads and uneven surfaces. Their heavy duty frames and large pneumatic tyres are capable of managing the snowy and icy surfaces.
How can you stay safe on the roads and paths?
If you plan on using road legal mobility scooters to get around in the winter, it's important to make sure that you are seen, especially on the roads. Visibility is low in the winter due to darker nights and morning. Although the scooter does have lights and indicators, maybe invest in a high-visibility jacket to ensure drivers see you on the road. For wheelchair users, it may be worth investing in some hi-visibility strips to place on the side of your wheelchair to ensure you’re seen.
You need to ensure you take care of your tyres, for both mobility scooters and wheelchairs. Having good traction is important to keep your grip so you need to ensure that your tyres don’t lose traction.
At Fenetic Wellbeing, we can help you find a solution for your needs this winter. Feel free to get in touch with us using our live chat below and one of our dedicated team will be more than happy to help you.