Like most conveniences in life, mobility aids do come with some risks, especially if you are riding in busy indoor spaces such as shopping malls, or driving near oncoming traffic. Luckily, the best mobility scooters (opens in new tab) are designed with front and rear lights to make you more visible to others.
The most important thing to remember when you using a power scooter outside your home is that even though you're riding a powered device with wheels, you are technically a pedestrian. Always keep your scooter on a sidewalk or easement, and never venture out into the road unless you are on a crosswalk.
If you use your power scooter outdoors, make sure that you can be seen. Because they're relatively small and are operated from a sitting position, power scooters are easy for inattentive drivers to overlook. Same as if you were using an electric wheelchair (opens in new tab) or other mobility vehicle, when crossing a street make sure you have enough time to make it all the way across before any oncoming traffic arrives. Don't rely on the fact that you have the right-of-way to keep you safe against a driver that may or may not see you.
Here are some other power scooter safety tips to keep in mind...
Ensure your scooter is visible
If you're going to use your scooter after the sun goes down, you should get a model that comes equipped with a headlight and reflectors. These features allow you to be seen by oncoming traffic. If you already have a scooter that doesn't have this equipment, consider purchasing after-market products that you can attach to your frame or tiller. A powerful light or reflector makes you much more visible after the sun goes down.
Don't use it if you've been drinking
Even though power scooters are relatively slow, you should treat them with similar deference when it comes to operating them if you have been drinking alcohol. In short, don't drive your mobility scooter if you are under the influence.
Driving a scooter with impaired judgment introduces an unstable element into a situation where you need to be as alert as possible. Just because you are not in a car doesn't mean there aren't dangers that could arise.
Be cautious when taking corners
Another big thing to keep in mind is that you should take your time when turning corners. Even if your scooter is nimble and has a tight turning radius, you should slow down when you make a turn. Taking corners too sharp or too fast can result in a scooter taking a spill on the floor or pavement. Most scooters come equipped with auxiliary anti-tip wheels, but those only go so far to keep you upright.
Keep it charged
One of the most essential things you can do before you use your power scooter is to make sure it has a full charge before you use it. Having a full charge before you leave the house helps to ensure that you'll make it back with battery life to spare. Having a battery run dead in the middle of a cross walk or a grocery aisle isn t just annoying but potentially dangerous.
Read the owner's manual
Probably the most underutilized safety feature of any mobility scooter is the owner's manual. Having an intimate knowledge of your scooter and how it works is essential, and you ll never know when that knowledge could come in handy and help you avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
At the end of the day, common sense is your friend when it comes to power scooter safety. Don t assume that just because you re on a slow moving vehicle that everyone will automatically defer to you. Be aware of your surroundings and make sure that others are aware of you.
If you'd like to explore further health content, check out our guides to the best walk-in tubs (opens in new tab) and the best stairlifts (opens in new tab) for greater freedom of movement at home. For peace of mind, consider installing one of the best medical alert systems (opens in new tab), which can be used in tandem with the best fall detection (opens in new tab) sensors.