Tag Archives: Scooter

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Adaptive Q&A

With such a wide variety of adaptive vehicle equipment available, selecting the appropriate features or modifications can become big task. In an effort to facilitate this process, here are the responses to some of the most frequently asked mobility equipment questions.

Are ramps difficult to operate?
Most vans equipped with side-entry mobility equipment are fully automatic. The seamless loading and unloading process can be as simple as pushing a button. Vans can be converted to automatically open their doors, lower to the curb and deploy or stow a ramp without the driver or passengers needing to work with any equipment. Manual options are also available, however these are also very easy to use. Built with springs that carry most of the ramp’s weight, manual ramp options are also quick, safe and simple to use solutions.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, it is possible for drivers with disabilities and the need for a wheelchair to avoid transferring by properly securing their chair and themselves within the vehicle. With the use of both a wheelchair tie-down system and occupant restraints, driving from a wheelchair can be a safe and convenient option.

Can I drive from my scooter?
Operating or riding a vehicle from scooter is not recommended. In order to remain safe while traveling, passengers or drivers in scooters should always transfer into vehicle seating. Turning or swivel seats can make the transfer process easier and less demanding on those with limited mobility or access to caregiver assistance. Scooters should also be properly secured with a tie-down system to prevent movement in case of a sudden stop or turn.

Side entry vs. rear entry – which is best for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding between a side entry and a rear entry vehicle. Passengers who are not going to be driving the vehicle typically use rear entry vehicles. Side entry vehicles work well for drivers and co-pilots getting in to the front of the vehicle, as well as passengers. Depending on the parking conditions of your regularly visited establishments, your vehicle’s entry points may need to be redefined. If you often need to parallel park or live in a region that experiences recurring inclement weather, a side-entry vehicle will prove to be a better option for your needs. These are only a few of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing between side and rear-entry.

Can someone else drive my vehicle if I install hand controls?
In most cases, both able-bodied drivers and those with disabilities can comfortably operate vehicles adapted with hand controls. Most hand controls do not interfere with the way a manufacturer intended the vehicle to be driven.

Options For Driving From A Wheelchair

There are two options for a person who uses a wheelchair to drive an accessible vehicle. They can drive from their wheelchair and or transfer to the driver’s seat.

Drive from your wheelchair
Driving controls can be adapted to operate from your wheelchair. Usually this means some form of hand controls, though other solutions are possible. There will also be an automatic docking system to secure your wheelchair. All of this will be designed around you and your wheelchair as part of your assessment from an experienced mobility installer.

Safety

  • Because you have the opportunity to travel by yourself, you need to be sure you are able to get out in an emergency.
  • Typically wheelchair accessible vehicle have fail-safe devices for the doors, ramps/lifts and docking systems. These include battery backups and manual over-rides.

Other drivers

  • In many wheelchair accessible vehicles, the front passenger seat can be switched to the drivers side, and there is a docking system on both sides so you can travel as a passenger.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

Transfer to the Driver’s Seat
Some wheelchair users prefer to transfer to a driving seat because they find it more comfortable or easier to drive. Sometimes it’s necessary because your wheelchair may not be suitable for driving. Using the standard car seat also means that you don’t need to fit a specialist seat belt.

By contrast, transferring into the driver seat may not be suitable if you have a specialist seating system in your wheelchair and may be difficult if you have limited mobility.

Wheelchair accessible vehicles can be adapted to allow you to enter with your wheelchair or scooter (by ramp or lift), secure the wheelchair or scooter in the vehicle, and then transfer to the driving seat. You can replace the standard car seat with one that swivels and slides so that you can transfer into it more easily.

Safety

  • You will need a docking system for securing the wheelchair – you need to be able to do this by yourself.
  • Because you may be traveling by yourself, you need to be sure you will be able to get out in an emergency.

Transferring

  • Transferring between the wheelchair and the seat does take some effort – make sure you can do it even on a bad day.
  • Make sure there is enough room in the vehicle to let you transfer comfortably and that there are handholds and supports where you need them. You may need to fit extra hand rails or other supports.

Assessment and training

  • If you’re going to be using adapted controls, you will need a professional driving assessment and training.

Be Prepared For Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can take place at any moment and can come in any form from floods, severe weather, earthquakes and more, yielding unfortunate outcomes without warning.  Being prepared can save lives and planning is important; know who will help you if you need assistance or if you need to evacuate.

Be Informed
Ensure you have the proper equipment to stay up-to-the-minute on breaking news and changing weather patterns. You may need a radio for this, specifically one that runs on batteries so be sure you have extras. Know when, where and what local branches of organizations like American Red Cross, have planned in your specific location, and find out how they can help. Also, ensure you can maintain contact with those outside of your home, having a phone car charger and jumper cables could be essential.

Make a Plan
For people with mobility challenges, assistance can be crucial.

If are a caregiver, or if you have assembled a “Help Team” to assist a person in need:

  • Be helpful in letting others know exactly what you need and when you need it.
  • Contact family, friends, neighbors or social service agencies if and when possible.
  • Try to have someone available who can lift and carry heavy objects such as wheelchairs or other medical equipment.
  • Give at least one other person a key to the person’s home.
  • Each team member should have the contact information for the others.
  • Name a substitute caregiver in case the original is unavailable.

Develop an evacuation strategy with your “Disaster Team,” and consider the following:

  • Where are the closest special needs emergency shelters and what are the different routes you can take to reach them?
  • What supplies must you take with you that are used every day?
  • Whom should you inform that you are evacuating?
  • How much gas do you have and how much will much will you need? Be sure to keep your vehicle’s gas tank over 1/2 full at all times.

Make a Kit
Assemble your kit well in advance with the help of a list and be sure to include:

  • Water – Keep one gallon of water per person (and per pet) per day for at least three days. Make sure you replace the water every six months.
  • Food – Keep at least a 3-day stock of non-perishable food that requires little cooking and no refrigeration in a safe place. Include a manual can opener and eating utensils.

For those with mobility disAbilities:

  • Pair of heavy gloves to use while wheeling or making your way over glass and debris
  • Extra battery for your motorized wheelchair or scooter
  • Jumper cables or specific recharging device to be connected to an automobile’s cigarette lighter
  • Patch kit or can of “seal-in-air product” to repair flat tires
  • Spare cane or walker
  • Food, medicine, favorite toy, and other care items for your service animal
  • Plastic bags, disposable gloves, and other items for the animal’s care

Find out if you qualify for assistance and fill out a form in advance to ensure your safety should the need arise. And be aware of FEMA resources in your area, including their capabilities and the best way to reach them.

Adaptive Q&A

With such a wide variety of adaptive vehicle equipment available, selecting the appropriate features or modifications can become big task. In an effort to facilitate this process, here are the responses to some of the most frequently asked mobility equipment questions.

Are ramps difficult to operate?
Most vans equipped with side-entry mobility equipment are fully automatic. The seamless loading and unloading process can be as simple as pushing a button. Vans can be converted to automatically open their doors, lower to the curb and deploy or stow a ramp without the driver or passengers needing to work with any equipment. Manual options are also available, however these are also very easy to use. Built with springs that carry most of the ramp’s weight, manual ramp options are also quick, safe and simple to use solutions.

Can I drive from my wheelchair?
In many cases, it is possible for drivers with disabilities and the need for a wheelchair to avoid transferring by properly securing their chair and themselves within the vehicle. With the use of both a wheelchair tie-down system and occupant restraints, driving from a wheelchair can be a safe and convenient option.

Can I drive from my scooter?
Operating or riding a vehicle from scooter is not recommended. In order to remain safe while traveling, passengers or drivers in scooters should always transfer into vehicle seating. Turning or swivel seats can make the transfer process easier and less demanding on those with limited mobility or access to caregiver assistance. Scooters should also be properly secured with a tie-down system to prevent movement in case of a sudden stop or turn.

Side entry vs. rear entry – which is best for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding between a side entry and a rear entry vehicle. Passengers who are not going to be driving the vehicle typically use rear entry vehicles. Side entry vehicles work well for drivers and co-pilots getting in to the front of the vehicle, as well as passengers. Depending on the parking conditions of your regularly visited establishments, your vehicle’s entry points may need to be redefined. If you often need to parallel park or live in a region that experiences recurring inclement weather, a side-entry vehicle will prove to be a better option for your needs. These are only a few of the deciding factors when it comes to choosing between side and rear-entry.

Can someone else drive my vehicle if I install hand controls?
In most cases, both able-bodied drivers and those with disabilities can comfortably operate vehicles adapted with hand controls. Most hand controls do not interfere with the way a manufacturer intended the vehicle to be driven.

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Vehicle Selection

When choosing a vehicle for transportation there are several areas to consider. Your doctor, physical therapist or occupation therapist will have input and can help answer any questions, but a certified adaptive driving specialist can assist in making a vehicle selection with completion of the driver rehabilitation program.

Following are some areas to consider:
  • What are your transportation needs? Do you need a car, truck, full-size van or mini-van? Are you able to take public transportation?
  • What are your physical limitations that will effect your ability to access a vehicle or drive?
  • Will you be a driver or passenger?
  • Will you be able to handle the mental and physical stress of driving?
  • What is your ability to transfer into and out of the vehicle?
  • Will you require an assistive seat or lift to get into or out of the vehicle?
  • If you require a lift, what options do you prefer? Side door or rear door entrance/exit; electric; hydraulic; platform swing out or super arm, etc.?
  • Do you require a lowered floor or raised top and doors? What is your height, head to ground when sitting, and the length and width of your wheelchair or scooter?
  • Will you drive from a wheelchair or use a power seat?
  • Will you need special modifications to operate the vehicle?

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Adaptive Driving Aids/Modifications

With the use of appropriate adaptive aids an individual with most types of physical disability can continue to drive safely. A variety of devices are available to meet the individual driver’s needs and preferences. The following is a list of the more common modifications available. They should be tried in an actual driving situation before making a final decision. (For liability issues work with a certified adaptive driving specialist).

Automatic transmission: replaces clutch and manual shift

Power Steering: permits one-hand steering wheel operation

Power Brakes: needed for hand controls and other adaptive aids

Steering Devices: spinner knob, amputee ring, quad fork, tri pin, or custom device

Floor Mounted Steering: floor steering wheel for foot control

Modified Effort Steering: reduces strength needed to operate power steering or brake to accommodate low strength and/or endurance.

Left Foot Accelerator: eliminates left leg cross-over

Foot Pedal Extensions: raises height of brake and accelerator

Hand Controls: control operates brake/accelerator with single lever and activates secondary controls (horn, wipers, turn signals, etc.) *temporary or mounted hand controls are not recommended by Veterans Administration
Electric Gear Selector: permits left hand operation
Right Hand Turn Signal: permits right hand operation without cross-over
Remote Switches: reposition or build up secondary controls (horn, wipers, turn signals, etc.) to accommodate driver’s specific disability
Seat Belts: shoulder and lap belt adjustments may be needed
Power Seats: eases access for transferring to a regular captain’s seat
Custom Seats: creates balance, positioning, and stability
Lifts and Ramps: permits access into and out of vehicle
Wheelchair/Scooter Lifts: assists in lifting wheelchairs and scooters in and out of vehicle
Wheelchair Carriers: permits carrying of wheelchair outside of vehicle

Adaptive Driving for Persons with Physical Limitations: Driver Rehabilitation Programs

According to the Association of Driver Educators for the Disabled, a driver rehabilitation program should have a qualified driver rehabilitation specialist, the appropriate vehicle(s), and equipment to provide comprehensive services in the following areas:

Clinical Evaluation: applicable testing in the area of physical functioning and visual/perceptual/cognitive screening. Where applicable, a wheelchair/seating assessment should be completed.

Driving Evaluation: shall include an on-the-road performance assessment of the client in an actual driving environment using equipment similar to the prescribed equipment.

Vehicle Modification/Prescription: all prescriptions shall be based on the client’s demonstrated performance in an actual driving experience with equipment similar to that which is being prescribed. The prescription should include appropriate description and dimensions of the client’s vehicle and mobility aid (wheelchair, scooter).

Driver Education: shall include sufficient practice and training to enable the client to operate a motor vehicle with the prescribed equipment at a level that meets the client’s need for a driver’s license.

Final Fitting: the client shall receive a final fitting and operational assessment in their modified vehicle.