If you wake up and there isn’t six inches of snow on the ground, this post is not for you.
For some of you, “winterize” is a word that holds no weight. For others, especially those of us in northern states, it is a serious undertaking. Not paying attention to the weather forecast religiously in the winter months is to sign up for a world of hurt. No one wants that! So heed our advice and learn how to winterize an accessible vehicle to stay safe in the frigid months ahead.
- Always be sure to dress responsibly. Should the worst happen and you are stranded in your wheelchair van, you’ll be thankful you decided to wear warm layers. It’s never a bad idea to keep an extra blanket or two around as well…and snacks!
- Scraping the car off before you drive is never fun. Hopefully, you have a garage and this isn’t a problem for you, but for everyone else, YOU HAVE TO DO IT. If you are a wheelchair user, this could definitely be challenging, but its important you have full visibility when driving in the wintery weather. The same rules apply for snow on top of the van. Keep a large broom around to knock the inches of accumulation off the top. When that huge block of white fluff doesn’t slide into your line of sight, it will be well worth the extra minutes you spent brushing off the top.
- De-icer is a cheap investment that could really save you valuable minutes when you are on your way out the door. Spray a little on your mirrors, windows and door locks to help fight ice buildup.
- Some of the above may be difficult to accomplish if you don’t have a little assistance. Ask your neighbors to help out before they leave for work. Call a relative who lives nearby to assist you in clearing your car so you can go to work and run errands. A few extra minutes of their time can save you hours, and it’s okay to ask for help to make your life easier.
- Even 4WD won’t help you if you don’t have good tires. This is a more expensive investment, but snow tires could really save you in tricky driving situations. Their special tread is designed to cut through snow and ice better than your all-purpose tires will. The rubber is also softer in the cool temperatures helping to grip the road. Check to see that the tires you DO have are equipped with adequate tread.
- Your accessible vehicle has a floor that has been lowered. It’s something you realize when you buy, but maybe forget about later when you are Dukes-of-Hazarding your way to the grocery. Just keep in mind that your ground clearance is reduced, and you’ll want to take it slower when there is snow on the ground.
- Finally, we recommend calling for a maintenance appointment to make sure everything is working properly. Winter is war and you need to make sure your armor is up to par if you are going to beat it.
I can’t say I’m ready for this winter to come, but my car is. Take our advice and prepare yourself too. It will be here before you know it!