Let’s face it, most of us would rather stay in when the heavens open and the streets are slippery. However, sometimes it simply has to be done. Yet for wheelchair users, rainy days pose a unique problem, especially for electric models.
These electric wheelchairs are expensive, and many are right to feel cautious about taking them outside during spells of bad weather. The risk is that they will be damaged or ruined from contact with the rain. As a result, the user has to replace the chair, or else sees its lifespan significantly shortened.
It’s true that it would be best to avoid the rain in an electric wheelchair, it’s actually a little more complicated than that.
Can Electric Wheelchairs Get Wet?
So, can electric wheelchairs get wet? Ideally, no. Electricity and water famously do not get on. However, as an active wheelchair user, completely avoiding bad weather is easier said than done. It’s inevitable that you will get caught in unexpected rain, snow, hail or sleet. There’s also the problem of large puddles.
Since it’s therefore impossible to never ever get wet, the question should be: what to do if your electric wheelchair gets wet?
What Do I Do If My Wheelchair Gets Wet?
If the weather forecast is looking bleak and you’re worried about taking your electric wheelchair outside in potential drizzle or light rain, you can still take precautions. A waterproof cover will help protect the vital components of the wheelchair, such as the controls.
Let’s say that the rain turns to showers or a thunderstorm. In that case, here are the immediate actions you should take:
If you’re suddenly caught in the rain or a storm of any other kind, you should immediately try to take indoor shelter, where possible. If you find yourself in an outdoor area, be sure to find a covered space with a dry floor. Muddy areas are highly likely to make your situation worse!
Inspect the chair
Once you’ve found shelter in a dry, covered area, take a look at the chair for signs of water. If there has been contact, you’ll need to take action or risk long-term damage to the chair.
Dry the wheelchair surface
Using a dry and soft cloth or towel, dry the surface of the wheelchair straight away. You’ll need to exercise caution around any exposed electronic components. To make sure the water does not cause any severe damage to the chair, dab the parts with a cloth with care.
Let the water evaporate
Some parts of the wheelchair will be harder to access, but may still be wet and require care. To let any unseen water evaporate, place the power chair in a warm, dry location for up to 12 hours.
Check your controls
Test your brakes, joystick and other controls to make sure there hasn’t been any damage to the chair’s operations. If you find things are not working as usual, make a call to your power chair specialist.