Using a Mobility Scooter Safely
A mobility scooter, or adult scooter, is used by people who have trouble walking. It allows them to freely and easily move around. Depending on the unit, some mobility scooters can travel much faster than a person could walk or run. This makes getting around much easier, but it is very important to ensure that you are very careful when using your mobility scooter.
While driving your mobility scooter it is imperative to be especially careful when crossing or driving on the road. Most commercially available mobility scooters are not street legal. Different states have different definitions of what is required to be street legal, but it typically requires that the vehicle include specific lighting and safety features and be licensed and registered with the state.
Since most mobility scooters are not street legal, you can typically not drive it on state maintained roads. You should consult your state regulations before attempting to drive your mobility scooter on a road.
Not only can it be illegal to drive your mobility scooter on a state road, it can also be very unsafe. This is because it is much harder to see someone that is on a mobility scooter. A safety flag is a good investment; this is especially true if you will be using your mobility scooter frequently around vehicles. Safety flags improve your visibility to others and attach to your mobility scooter easily.
Not only do safety flags make it much easier for people in cars and trucks to see you, but they also make it much easier to maintain contact when travelling in crowds. Since mobility scooters sit so low to the ground it can be easy to get separated from your family or loved ones in crowded areas. A safety flag will make it much easier for them to keep you in sight.
Another way to ensure that you maintain your safety is to avoid placing yourself in situations where you might tip over your mobility scooter. Mobility scooters are designed to be able to traverse small curbs and embankments.
It is important to not try to climb over too high a curve though, because you risk tipping over. Your owner's manual will have information describing the maximum curb or embankment that your unit can climb. It is far better to avoid obstacles whenever possible, but if you must navigate a curb or small embankment make sure you meet it head on. A quality mobility scooter will have a set of anti-tip wheels in the back that in normal conditions will help prevent the unit from tipping over backwards. If you attempt to cross a curb at an angle this will negate the effect of the anti-tip wheels.
A mobility scooter can be a powerful device that can restore independence and allow you to move around freely without assistance, but when used improperly or placed in unsafe situations, they can be very dangerous. Always take extra care around roads and intersections, use a safety flag to improve visibility, and take care when attempting to navigate curbs or other obstacles.
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