Tips and Tricks To Get To Know Your Electric Wheelchair

By: inkbottle
First time electric wheelchair users are still getting to know their chairs and how they operate. If you own an electric wheelchair and you're wondering how you'll do with it, use this article as a guide to help. It gives practical advice, gleaned from those who have used electric wheelchairs to make sure your experience is the best it can be.

Make sure you have reflector tape on all 4 sides of your wheelchair. While you will probably be on the sidewalks - and usually just during the day - it's good to have just in case. The reflector tape will still show up brightly during the day and if you find yourself delayed at night, you have nothing to worry about.

If you live in an area where you don't have very good sidewalks and you are forced to travel on the road, stay to the side, abide by traffic laws, and get yourself a bright orange flag that you can attach to your chair. This will help you be seen not only by the car behind you but by the car behind them! That's very important.

Find out what the distance is for your electric wheelchair's batteries. Subtract 10% - 20% of the total distance. With this new distance, divide that amount in half. Then get a map and draw a circle around your home extending out the distance of that last number (which should be 40% to 45% of your battery's total driving distance). This will give you the maximum range you want to go on a trip in order to get out (to do your shopping or pay bills, etc.) and to get back. And there's a little extra capacity built in, just in case. Bring your map with you at first. While you may be familiar with the streets in your car, it can be a different story in your wheelchair...and if it's getting late and you're worried about the battery capacity, a map might help you find a shortcut through a park or schoolyard.

When you are not using your electric wheelchair, be sure to recharge the battery. Nothing is more frustrating than wanting to go out and not having the battery charge to go. As an alternative, buy two batteries when you get your wheelchair and always keep one on the charger and the other on your chair.

Get a poncho and carry it with you always. It can be frustrating to be caught in a downpour and a poncho will help keep you and the components on your wheelchair dry.

Something else you will want to do BEFORE you venture very far in your wheelchair is to get used to the clearance of your wheelchair. Because the batteries and motors are sometimes lower to the ground than we are used to, it can be easy to get caught up on a rock or a curb that we were once able to get over in a manually powered chair but are not longer able to get over now. As well, a stick (like a cane or a hefty walking stick) can give your chair a little extra "oomph" if you do find yourself hung up.
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