Are you dreading this winter season? Dealing with slushy, icy, snowy, and windy conditions can be quite a challenge for wheelchair users, and you might be tempted to just hibernate at home for the next few months. Although there may be moments when it is indeed safer to stay inside, with a little forethought, you don’t have to let less-than-ideal conditions keep you cooped up this season.
So, what can you do to ensure your safety during blustery, winter weather? Let’s take a look!
Prepare for the Worst
If you find yourself snowed in or in a situation where outside conditions are truly too much to brave, don’t be caught off guard. Having a checklist of things to do before a storm hits can keep you from ending up in a bad position.
- Make it a habit to get prescriptions filled before they run out and have an emergency stash of any other necessary medical supplies on hand at all times.
- Get a generator for your home. It won’t be cheap, but the benefits will outweigh the costs when it comes to your rescue during a power outage.
- If you use an electric wheelchair, store a backup battery at your home and check its charge level regularly.
- Stock up on canned goods and other food items that can be consumed without cooking.
- If you live alone, make a pact with a buddy in your area to check up on each other through text messages or phone calls in the case of inclement weather.
Think Ahead Before Going Out and About
If you absolutely must head out of the house, you should take certain precautions to keep yourself out of danger.
Remember that your driveway and sidewalks may be slippery or difficult to roll over if a lot of snow has built up. Make sure to think through all possible situations and how to get yourself out of them.
What To Do Before Venturing Out:
- Give your wheelchair a thorough tune-up. Check your frame for potential weaknesses due to wear-and-tear, tighten all the nuts and bolts, and make sure your battery (if electric) and tires are in good shape. Consult your chair’s manual for detailed maintenance instructions and any warnings on how your battery may react in extreme temperatures.
- Consider getting snow tires, Wheelblades, or anti-tippers for your chair. They can add an extra layer of security while wheeling through snow and ice.
- Charge your cell phone fully before going out and bring along a power bank in case your battery dies.
- Get a storage tote for your wheelchair and pack a blanket, hat, gloves, scarf, and maybe even a spare pair of cozy socks in it. You never know when you might need some extra layers if you get stuck somewhere.
- Get a ramp installed at your home. Yes, ramps are a big investment, but there is no better way to maintain your independence and safety during the winter season — and all year round! National Ramp’s aluminum and powder-coated steel ramps are perfect for wet and snowy conditions. Thanks to their open mesh technology, you won’t ever have to navigate around puddles, nor worry about moisture freezing on your ramp’s surface and turning it into a toboggan run. National Ramp works with dealers all over North America who can install a custom ramp for you in no time. Give them a call before the worst of winter arrives at 1-877-884-7267 or fill out their contact form here, and they’ll put you in touch with a dealer in your area right away!
Since everyone’s situation is different, use these tips as a starting block to create a personalized checklist for yourself. Anticipating all possible mishaps will greatly reduce your chances of ending up in a disastrous situation. Stay safe and don’t let yourself be vulnerable this season!
Betsy Bailey has a diverse background including experience in marketing research at American Express, business operations and client relations with 601am, travel and culinary writing with VegDining, and playing volleyball professionally overseas.
Betsy is excited to get back into writing, something she’s adored since childhood, and thoroughly enjoys the process of getting to know her interviewees. On top of her work with Wheel:Life, she also teaches students learning English as a second language, speaks French fluently, and travels any chance she gets!