Winter Driving and Your Wheelchair Van
If you're driving your wheelchair van through rough winter conditions, please take the proper precautions, both before you hit the road and once you're on it.
If you happen to be a wheelchair user, these precautions are even more important because you can't necessarily catch a ride with someone passing by if you slide off the road or get stranded.
Driving Tips to Remember:
- Make sure you're wearing the right clothing. Should the worst happen and you get stranded in your wheelchair van, you'll want to be sure you're wearing warm layers and all the necessary gear it takes to stay warm. Keep some blankets in storage too!
- A basic step many people overlook: scrape the snow off your van! Granted if you're a wheelchair user, this is a little easier said than done. If you don't have someone else who can do a thorough job of scraping for you, keep a broom in your van to get to the hard-to-reach spots (that great idea came from one of our Facebook friends a while back).
- Ever had a sheet of snow slide down your roof and onto your windshield for a few terrifying seconds? Avoid that panic by clearing snow off from the top down. Start at the roof, and make your way down, paying close attention to headlights, taillights, and mirrors.
- Keep some de-icer on hand to help melt ice on mirrors, windows and door locks. Clear whatever ice remains with an ice scraper.
- Think about walking on ice in old tennis shoes instead of a good pair of snow boots. If you are driving on tires with bad tread and improper inflation, you're asking for trouble.
- And remember, if you're driving a lowered floor vehicle, your ground clearance is obviously lower take it slow!
- Finally, two words: Remote start!
Here are a few other must-haves when traveling in a handicap van:
- Make sure you have half a tank of gas at all times.
- Check the wiper fluid and make sure the wipers are working.
- Keep a cell phone charger in the van...and always make sure the cell phone is within reach!
- Of course, a light blanket, some bottled water, and a fully-charged battery on my electric cart are all good ideas too!
Whether you're driving a BraunAbility van or not, we want you to be safe. Please do yourself and everyone else on the road a favor and take the proper precautions, both before you hit the road and once you're on it. Safe travels, everyone!