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Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP

Safely Handling a Wheelchair in Winter Weather

During the winter months in New York, many of wish that we were somewhere much warmer. For individuals who use wheelchairs, navigating the winter weather can be particularly difficult. The following will review some important wheelchair safety tips that you can follow during the winter months to remain safe while using a wheelchair.

Improve Wheelchair Traction

During the winter, some people increase the thickness of the treads on their wheelchairs to improve traction. For individuals who use a manual wheelchair, it is sometimes a good idea to keep an extra set of wheels with snow tires on them. Other people claim that one of the best ways to improve traction with a wheelchair is to slightly reduce the air in a wheelchair’s tires because this increases the size of the tire’s surface area, leading to improved traction.

Take Extra Precaution if You Use a Powered Wheelchair

If you have a power wheelchair, it is critical to remember that cold weather is particularly hard on batteries. It is common for users to discover that the power of their wheelchairs is greatly decreased during the winter. Batteries drain more quickly during the winter due to the cold, but also due to the extra effort it takes to push the wheelchair through the snow. To avoid additional difficulties, make sure to fully charge your wheelchair batteries before heading out.

Keep the Wheelchair Dry

If your wheelchair utilizes a joystick, make sure to cover the joystick with a protective layer. When snow or water leaks into a joystick or the associated controls, the damage can lead to substantial repair costs and reduce one’s ability to safely operate the wheelchair.

Use a Wheelchair Safety Flag

During the winter months, it gets darker earlier and often unexpectedly. In some situations, there might not be any sidewalks where you are traveling, which can lead to your operating your wheelchair in the street. To increase your visibility while in a wheelchair, it can be helpful to use small battery-operated lights on each side and attach a tall, brightly colored flag so that motor vehicle drivers and others can see you when approaching.

Remain Covered

Not only should wheelchairs remain covered, but the people who use them should remain covered, as well. This means wearing warm, water-resistant clothing that does not leave a person’s skin exposed during the winter. Wear multiple layers so that outer layers can be taken off in case the temperature increases. Wear gloves if you operate a manual wheelchair. Take additional caution when dressing any body parts in which you experienced reduced or no sensation.

Speak with an Experienced Long Island Accident Attorney

If you use a wheelchair and are harmed this winter because another party was responsible for your accident, you should not hesitate to speak with a skilled Long Island personal injury attorney. Contact Cohen & Jaffe today to schedule an initial free case evaluation.

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