Contrary to popular belief, accidents involving mobility scooters and powered mobility devices in general are actually extremely rare. According to the experts at Simplelifemobility.co.uk, technological advances have brought the UK its most reliable and generally safe contingency of mobility machines and devices to date, making a huge impact on things like accident rates and reported breakdowns. However, while there’s plenty to be said for the technology’s role in keeping tabs on health and safety while out in public, it will also come down to the actions of the scooter’s driver to ensure accidents and incidents are avoided.
So, with this in mind, what follows is a brief look at some of the most important tips and guidelines from mobility experts on how to stay safe and avoid accidents while out and about:
1 – Good Maintenance
First and foremost, the single most dangerous thing any person can do is head out into public on a scooter that isn’t 100% in a good state of repair. The reason being that it can take something as simple as a loose wheel, faulty break or damaged battery to result in all manner of hazardous scenarios the likes of which cannot be prevented once the risk has been taken. This is why it’s crucial to make sure that the scooter is serviced as often as recommended by the dealer from which it was purchased and that any necessary repairs are carried out before the scooter is used in public again.
2 – Awake and Alert
There will always be those for whom motorised mobility devices represent the obvious choice when heading out and about while feeling too tired or perhaps too ill to walk. This can be a recipe for disaster as while mobility scooters and the likes aren’t necessarily the fastest things of the roads, it can take nothing more than a momentary lapse in concentration to trigger a quite horrific accident. Mobility scooters, just like all motor vehicles, should only ever be used when the driver is 100% awake, alert and of sound mind. As such, operating a scooter after taking certain medications is also extremely dangerous and against the law.
3 – Common Sense
Something else that plays a role in accident prevention is common sense. For example, there will be times when the road you usually take to head to your destination is extremely busy – perhaps due to the morning school run or rush hour. As such, in these instances it’s crucial to not only leave extra time in order to take additional care along the way, but also to perhaps rethink your route for the sake of your own safety. When and where there’s a safer route than the one you’re currently taking, it’s your responsibility to take it.
4 – Scooter Limits
Never fall into the trap of assuming that your scooter will be able to carry even a single ounce more than the manufacturer’s specifications indicate – another recipe for disaster. If, for example, it has a weight limit of 110kg and you yourself weigh 100kg, this doesn’t mean you’ll get away with carrying 20kg of shopping or gear with you at any one time. When a scooter is overloaded, it’s only a matter of time before it tips over, collapses or generally grinds to a halt and may be rendered unusable. As such, it’s a risk that’s not worth taking by all accounts.
5 – Watch the Weather
The very last thing you want to do is to find yourself in a sticky situation due to the Great British weather taking a turn for the worse. As such, while it’s not entirely common for the weather forecasters to get things right 100% of the time, it’s still in your best interests to heed any weather warnings and perhaps reorganise your trips accordingly. If, for example, they’re predicting snow, ice, heavy rain or strong winds, chances are you’d be better off changing your plans and waiting out the bad weather.
6 – Take Your Time
Last but not least, perhaps the single most common cause of mobility scooter accidents in the UK today is that of rushing to get where you need to be and losing sight of common sense caution along the way. Again, these aren’t the fastest things on the face of the Earth, but they do nonetheless have to cope with infinitely more abundant and complex hazards than any other car on the road. From steps to slopes to pedestrians to curbs and so many more examples besides, the more you try and rush things along the greater the likelihood that one or more of these will cause you an accident.