10 Steps to Safely Operate a Wheelchair Outdoors
It is evident that a person who has to use a wheelchair has already been through a tough time. It might be as a result of a physiological or physical illness, injury, disability or old age. Safety for a wheelchair user is hence mandatory since the person in question is by all standards vulnerable. Care must be taken not to have him/her incur any further injury.
- Avoid potholes
Hitting a pot hole will destabilize the wheelchair and it will certainly tip over. If you must use a road with pot holes go around any that you come across.
- Keep off uneven surfaces
Look out for curbs, staircases, slopes and any other kinds of inclines. The wheelchair will not balance on such areas and might hurt the user.
- Don’t go to the beach or use sandy sidewalks/roads
When sand builds up on the tires it will cause the wheelchair to be off balance. If you must go to sand areas then ensure there’s someone to help you clean the sand off the tires.
- Be cautious of the weather
When using a wheelchair always check the weather before getting out doors. Avoid going out on a rainy day or on a snowy day, these will make the ground slippery and slick and will make it hard to move. Water puddles are not good for the wheelchair too as they will make it slide and spin which might end up tipping over. However, if you must go out when it is raining or snowing have someone assist you. If you can’t find someone to assist you then use your wheelchair carefully and slowly to avoid any spins and slides.
- Ensure that you are visible
Attach lights, reflectors, flashing lights or flags to the wheelchairs to be visible at all times.
- Use off road surfaces with caution
When riding on gravel, grass and dirt exercise utmost care. Do not hesitate to ask for help when necessary.
- Do not hang heavy bags at the back of the wheelchair
This may cause the chair to lose balance and tip over when you are getting in or out of the chair.
- Maintain slow speed and adhere to general safety measures
When encountering rough surfaces and sharp corners it is advisable to go slow. Do not hit large bumps with one wheel, remember to lock brakes when entering or exiting the chair.
- Avoid leaning backward or forward
Do not bend far forward or backward when trying to pick an object that is out of reach. The wheelchair will tip over. Roll your chair as close to the object as possible and pick it in comfort.
- Ensure your wheelchair is maintained on a weekly basis.
Check and confirm if all components are in good working condition.
Knowing safety precautions to take while operating a wheelchair especially for a new wheelchair user is essential and will help prevent accidents and injuries that could have been avoided. Long time wheel chair users also will find this information helpful as they use wheelchair for mobility. People who assist wheelchair users are also not left out as they will learn how to safely give help and support the wheelchair users.