Mobility Scooter Care for Older People
When it comes to using mobility scooters, safety should always be a key priority – whether you are a beginner or an old hand. In this article, we are going to take a look at all you need to stay safe on your mobility scooter.
Top tips for scooter safety
– The first and most important thing you need to do is to assess whether you have good enough vision and hearing to safely drive a scooter.
– Next, check to ensure that the seat position is comfortable and lets you control the scooter properly.
– Do some training before heading out for the first time: learn all the controls and ensure that you know how to properly steer the scooter, turn around, go backward, safely go and down kerbs, and most importantly, how to stop the machine.
– Keep your personal items including your mobile phone, handbag or wallet, etc., well tucked away and out of sight to allow you to concentrate on the task of driving.
– Check the range of the scooter. Remember, you want to get where you are going and still go back home. The last thing you want is running out of battery and getting stranded.
– Regularly check the lights and tires. Keeping your tires at the recommended pressure helps to ensure your safety and prolong their service lifespan. If your tires are showing signs of wear, you need to have them replaced. Also, check your lights and replace any dead bulbs. Remember to always use your lights in the evening/night or whenever it is gloomy or overcast.
– Check the weight limit of your scooter and refrain from overloading it with things like shopping or other goods.
– The handlebars are designed for steering the machine and not storing things. Hanging handbags from them, as most people do, can cause the scooter to be unstable and much more difficult to control.
– “Pimping” your scooter has recently become a common trend – While it is fine to decorate your scooter, ensure not to add anything that compromises your safety. More specifically, avoid anything that could get caught up in the wheels or any other part of the scooter. Also, avoid anything that is a trip hazard or that can cause you to get tangled up.
– Get insurance. While insurance for mobility scooters isn’t a legal requirement, carrying insurance is always a smart move. This will help to keep you protected in case of theft or accidental damage as well as any negligence claims that may come up from the use of your scooter. A policy including breakdown coverage will help you get home in case your scooter fails.
Your driving style
– Keep in mind that while Class 3 scooters can be used on the road, Class 2 scooters can only be used on the pavements. Also, the maximum speed allowed on the pavement is 4mph while the maximum speed on the road is 8mph. So, if you are using a roadgoing scooter, you need to switch it to the 4mph maximum speed when using it on the pavement. See here the different scooters available.
– While 4mph is the maximum speed allowed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is always safe to travel at that much speed. Consider traveling more slowly in areas that you are unfamiliar with, or places that are cramped or crowded.
– Pedestrians will have the right of way and you should always give it to them. This particularly applies to children, who are much more likely not to be paying attention to you and can suddenly run into your path as well as the elderly, who may not be able to get out of your way in time.
– Before hitting the road, you need to ensure that your front and rear lights, indicators, and horn are working properly. Also, you need to exercise great care and commonsense. Since you are moving at a much slower speed than any other type of vehicle, make sure that you have enough time and space to complete any maneuver. Also, avoid the motorway at all costs.
– You need to be extra cautious when pavement and road surfaces are icy and slippery.
– Make sure to dress warmly, and have a waterproof top layer. Fortunately, some scooters come with a weather cab that helps to protect you from the elements.
– Ensure that you are clearly visible in gloomy weather. Ensuring that other motorists and road users can see you is very crucial in maintaining your safety. Use your lights and consider investing in some high visibility accessories. Why not buy strips to attach to legs and sleeves, in addition to gilets and bags made with reflective material.
– Always have your mobile phone with you, in case of an emergency. Make sure that it is fully charged up and loaded with the numbers you might need before heading out. Also, consider investing in a GPS tracker so that your rescuers can know exactly where you are.
– Keep in mind that the range of your scooter will reduce in cold weather.
– If you prefer not to use your scooter during the cold seasons, ensure to keep the battery charged. The problem is that if your battery becomes completely discharged, it becomes difficult to charge it up again when you need to use it in the spring.
– If you can’t keep your scooter indoors during winter make sure to protect it from the winter weather with a waterproof cover. Keep in mind that moisture can wreak havoc on electronics.