With that all-too-short summer now a rapidly fading memory, and those autumn nights drawing in, thoughts are turning to the imminent winter months. With winter comes a whole host of hazards, particularly for users of mobility scooters.
We know you’ve got stuff to do; we’re not expecting you to stay inside for a whole season. Instead, we’ve compiled a few tips to help you run your mobility scooter safely and efficiently until spring is here again.
Make Yourself Seen
One of the major hazards associated with winter is low visibility. When the sun goes down at 3:30pm there’s precious little daylight anyway, but when those daylight hours are filled with fog, drizzle and snow, staying visible on the roads becomes more important than ever.
If you haven’t had them fitted already – and if you’re using your mobility scooter on the roads, you should have done – invest in some safety lights for the front and rear of your scooter, as well as a set of indicators. This ensures that you remain fully visible to other road users at all times.
Anything that enhances your visibility on the road is a good thing, and we at Help My Mobility can help. We’re giving away 35 hi-visibility vests on a first come first served basis. Click the link to claim yours before they run out!
Look After Those Wheels
Good traction is vital to the safe operation of your mobility scooter on the road, but during the winter this can become difficult. Ice, snow, moisture and even dead leaves can cause hazardously slippery conditions, so it’s important to ensure that your wheels can cope.
A good quality road mobility scooter will feature chunky tyres covered in thick, extra-grippy tread. While these tyres are durable and robust, natural wear and tear over time can reduce their effectiveness. Make sure you conduct regular checks to ensure the tyres on your scooter are in good nick and fully inflated.
If you’re concerned that your tyres aren’t up to scratch, don’t risk an accident by ignoring the problem. Contact your scooter’s manufacturer and request a new set of tyres. The best manufacturers will offer full parts warranties that should cover checks and repairs like these.
Maintain a Healthy Scooter
Mobility scooters hate the cold nearly as much as we humans do, and that chilly winter weather can play havoc with your scooter’s power supply. Where possible, store your scooter in a heated area; this will ensure that the battery remains in good condition throughout the winter months.
If heated storage is not an option, a bit of extra vigilance is required. Check your power level before every trip, even if it was full just last night. Charge your battery regularly and take your scooter out for a spin most days to keep the battery ticking over, this will keep the power supply healthy and reliable despite the cold.
It is worth bearing in mind that extremely cold weather can cause your battery to drain more quickly than usual. We won’t go into the science, but we will ask you to keep a watchful eye on your battery’s energy levels while you’re out and about, particularly on longer trips.
The cold weather can affect your mobility scooter in other ways too, so remember to have your machine serviced regularly throughout the winter. Services and checks like these should be covered by your scooter’s warranty.
Keep on Top of the Conditions
Inclement weather comes thick and fast in winter, but with modern forecasting you can keep on top of it. Get into the habit of checking the weather forecast regularly and plan your journeys accordingly. If there’s a snowstorm on the way, put off any unnecessary trips until it passes.
Preparation is key to staying out of trouble. Consider altering your normal route to avoid operating your scooter on roads during heavy weather. If the ground is icy, avoid steep hills and other hazards. These amendments may add a few minutes to your journey, but this is a small price to pay for staying safe on the roads.
Remember to always carry a mobile phone in case of emergency and to let people know where you are going if possible. Precautions like these make you easily reachable in the case of an emergency.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to layer up before leaving the house. Wrapping up in your winter woollies ensures that you stay warm and comfortable on your journey and helps to keep the cold weather at bay. Remember to be prepared and dress warmly, even if you’re only nipping round the corner.
Keep these points in mind, stay safe on the roads and enjoy the winter. Don’t forget to claim your free hi-vis vest by clicking the link!