Outdoor tips for mobility aids
Using a mobility scooter or electric wheelchair outdoors can be difficult, especially if planning on going off road and across countryside. Even if you plan on using your mobility aid just for going to the shops, there are a few things you need to be aware of when making a trip outside. In this article we are going to go through some best practices on using you mobility aid outdoors as well as what to pack when preparing for a trip along with some helpful tips on recovering your mobility aid if you get stuck.
Hopefully by using the tips and practices outlined in this article you will enjoy many safe and fulfilling journeys outdoors with your scooter or wheelchair and by following them you will be better prepared in the case of something going wrong.
Preparation is the most important thing when taking your scooter or wheelchair outdoors, there are a few things that are important to take with you and as most mobility scooters have baskets on these days you have room for these things.
Being prepared = Being safe This is very true when it comes to using mobility aids, if you suddenly need something that you forgot to pack earlier then it can take you a long time to get home depending on how far away a safe location is such as a car or your house. When venturing out into the countryside it is always a good idea to pack a few essentials
What do you need to take?
Medication: If you take medication then if you are planning on a long day trip out it is essential to take it with you. If you get stranded then it will be at hand if you need it. This is especially important for people who have respiratory problems such as asthma.
Mobile Phone: An essential for day trips is having a way to contact people if you get stuck or into trouble. You can also call emergency services if required and it is always a good idea to have ICE (In Case of Emergency) numbers saved to your phone.
Towel or Blanket: It is a good idea to have a blanket or towel to wrap around you if you get stranded, this is more for going out into countryside than around shops. Keeping warm is important in emergency situations as you can easily catch hypothermia if stuck outside for a while, especially in colder climes and at night.
Waterproofs: when outdoors you can get surprised by quick changes in the weather so having a small waterproof coat handy is a good idea, even if it is just a fold up one. Being wet dampens morale so at least staying dry underneath a waterproof will allow you to last longer waiting for help or making your way to a safe point.
Where to go outdoors
Off road – The best places to be off road when using standard mobility aids are dirt tracks and places where it is dry and the grass is not very long. Because most mobility scooters come with very small wheels it is best to go on surfaces that are not muddy or wet. You can get special off road models and these are considerably more expensive than the scooters or wheelchairs you would normally use to get to the shops.
On road – If travelling to and from town there are different types of road and pavement surfaces that are better and worse to ride on. Tarmac surfaces are your friends as well as large block paving as it allows for smooth and flat running of the tires. Cobblestone pavements and potholes are quite bad as they make the ride very bumpy plus can damage wheels if you hit a particularly bad bump.
Surfaces to avoid – Obviously there are situations and surfaces you want to avoid. Icy pavements, wet grassy areas and mud can all spell disaster for the small and usually very smooth wheels of powerchairs and mobility scooters.
- Have the number of a retrieval service, some tow companies can offer help to get you out.
- In case of emergency numbers to get in contact with relatives quickly, can help out the authorities if you are in real trouble.
- Put mobility scooter in reverse and push if capable of movement on your own but don’t put yourself in a worse position if it is unsafe to do so.
Hope you found the tips and information useful if you are planning trips on your mobility aid. It always pays to be prepared for multiple scenarios.