Although winter is traditionally known as a time to cozy up to warm fires and spend time with family and good friends, it can also bring its own collection of seasonal hazards than can impede you from navigating the roads safely in your wheelchair accessible vehicle.
To help on your journey, we’ve compiled a list of essential driving tips that will help get you to your destinations safe and sound.
Watch Your Speed
What should seem like a no-brainer is actually a rule that gets broken more during hazardous and inclement weather than when the roads are clear and dry. When driving your mobility vehicle, mind all posted speed limits, as roads are likely to be slick or even iced over, depending on where you live.
Hazards, like black ice and windy road conditions, can seriously affect handling and braking abilities. That ability can decrease even more if you drive a larger mobility vehicle, like a full-size wheelchair van.
Learn Skid Control
An essential trick to learn, regardless of the season, is how to successfully negotiate your wheelchair accessible vehicle during a skid. Your chances increase during the icy winter months, so it’s best to be prepared.
When you first start to feel your vehicle skid, steer into the skid direction and then accelerate gradually. This goes against what your instincts might tell you to do, but it’s the right method because it will transfer weight from the front to the back of the vehicle. This gives you better control, helping you to realign with the road quicker.
This goes double in both rainy and snowy conditions. Having a mobility vehicle equipped with proper lighting, winter-ready windshield fluid and appropriate wipers will help increase visibility and reduce the risk of accidents. If you’ve been prescribed eyeglasses or contacts, be sure to wear them, even if driving conditions are ideal.
Avoid Using Cruise Control
It’s understandable to want to use cruise control, especially on longer road trips, but do not use this feature in hazardous driving conditions. You’ll need to be as focused and in control as possible to avoid accidents, skidding and even hydroplaning.
Take Your Time
Going to visit friends, family and new places is exciting, and can affect the speed in with you drive. Remind yourself to stay calm and drive cautiously. Giving yourself enough lead-time to get to your destination can help, and keep you from becoming impatient and reckless.
The winter season is an exciting time of year, with a little planning and proper preparedness, you can get over the river and through the woods safely and securely this season.
Want more winter safety tips? Check out our winter maintenance checklist for mobility vehicles.
The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association (NMEDA) is an advocate for mobility and accessibility for drivers with disabilities. If you need help with converting or buying a handicap accessible car, truck or van, please consider one of our Quality Assurance Program mobility equipment dealers.