As any mobility aid user will know, even though the various aids that you use assist you and make daily movements more manageable, they can also be dangerous and cause problems if used incorrectly or in conditions that increase the risk of accidents and injury.
In the UK, even though our weather seems a bit different to how it was ten or twenty years ago, we still experience the four seasons (even if at odd times) but they are still there and bring with them the added challenges even for people without mobility needs.
It’s important to adapt to the weather conditions of the seasons and as we have entered autumn and will gradually move into winter you should keep in mind that everything from wet soggy leaves to frost and ice can make using your mobility aids, not only more challenging but also increase the risk of injury and so extra care needs to be taken.
If you are using a walking stick during harsh icy winter days then an anti-slip ice grip attachment is worth considering to give you a better grip in conditions that can make anyone feel unsteady.
Maybe you will be using a self propelled wheelchair, then a suitable pair of wheelchair gloves that suit your preference but also the weather conditions and outdoor temperature are a good idea to make sure that you still have control and are able to grip while at the same time protecting your hands and keeping them warm.
For powered wheelchair and mobility scooter users, it can be a good idea during the colder months to keep speed down, being aware that sometimes frost and ice on the ground isn’t always clearly visible and there is the potential for your wheelchair or mobility scooter to carry on forward even after the brakes have been applied and of course the danger that this could put you in is not something that you want to picture in your mind but you know the possibilities and if this can be avoided then every action should be taken to avoid this.
Speed doesn’t always have to be a factor for a vehicle of any type to slide on ice though.
When I was younger, I once saw a car travelling along the road early one morning on the street where I live and the driver was wisely keeping his/her speed down, the driving was in fact very sensible from what I saw, it couldn’t have been travelling at more than 10 mph.
As the car just got to about 20 ft past me, it suddenly began to turn, no longer under control by the driver, it was in fact an almost elegant sight, especially as I was so close and able to watch it happen, it basically started to slide around and did a full circle, facing the very same direction that it was going in the first place.
On this occasion it seemed harmless, the cause was ice on the road, there was only myself nearby, the car turned like it was performing for a crowd, the tires did bounce off of the kerb slightly but all was well, I saw the driver stop for a few seconds to absorb what had happened and then carry on again, very cautiously.
My reason for mentioning the above is because speed was not the cause, nor was it the style of driving, but the weather, icy conditions and the inability to have foreseen what would happen meant that the driver was suddenly in a position with a feeling of no control and having to just go with it as it happened.
If you acknowledge the weather conditions and adapt to them accordingly then you can lower the chances of an accident while using your mobility aid.
At times when weather conditions are more severe, you might choose not to venture outside, which of course is wise when you don’t need to and is the general understanding by most people, but for those days when the weather is cold but manageable then there’s no reason why you cant get out there if you stay aware of the conditions around you and adapt to them while using your mobility aids.
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