Electric Wheelchair – Safety Tips and Frequently Asked Questions!

Electric Wheelchair Safety Tips

In this article, we will be looking at the basic safety tips that come with operating the electric wheelchair and some of the frequently asked questions people have. It is important for you to have your queries answered to use the device properly and maximize your independence in an enjoyable manner. These are the three aspects of handling and maintaining your mobility device:

  1. Importance of user manual
  2. Using your device safely
  3. Maintaining your power wheelchair

1. Importance of User Manual

The user manual that comes with your electric wheelchair will contain important information on how to use your device so it is important for you to read the user manual closely and fully understand it. The manual will also contain useful information on how to use and maintain the device and its parts, especially the batteries. It is therefore advised for you to read and practice with the listed directions before the actual operation of the wheelchair.  

2. Using Your Mobility Device Safely

Your safety is our priority and using your device safely ensures the safety of others around you. Here are some of the safety tips that you should be aware of when you operate your electric wheelchair.

  • Make sure your electric wheelchair is fully or adequately charged before moving off
  • Always put on your seat belts
  • Your feet should be on the footplate at all times
  • You should ensure your tires are inflated before leaving
  • Avoid moving in unsafe environments
  • Familiarise yourself before moving in new environments
  • Make yourself visible when moving in around in crowded or dark areas
  • Do not rush and power the electric wheelchair at full speed
  • Plan and look ahead before moving the device
  • Practice the individual movements with someone you require before actually doing it yourself
  • Turn the power off when not in use
  • Have a phone with you at all times and someone on speed dial

Make Sure Your Electric Wheelchair Is Fully or Adequately Charged Before Moving Off

It is important that your mobility device is fully or adequately charged before you leave for your destination to prevent the risk of a dead battery in the middle of your journey. Do note the range of your wheelchair and plan your journey well to prevent any of such scenarios from happening.  

Always Put On Your Seat Belts

Always ensure your seatbelt is on and fastened when using your electric wheelchair to ensure your personal safety against accidents and serious injury. You should also keep your center of gravity aligned and within the frame of the wheelchair to prevent it from tipping over. By keeping your hands and legs within the frame, it will help stabilize the chair.  

Your Feet Should Be On the Foot Plate at All Times

Your feet should be on the footplate of your mobility device at all times when it is in motion. Dangling feet when the electric wheelchair is moving may put you at risk of injuring your feet unnecessarily. Avoid putting excessive pressure on the foot pads to prevent your wheelchair from lunging backward.  

Tires Are to Be Inflated Adequately Before Leaving

Ensure the tires to your device are fully inflated before using as improper air pressure will put unnecessary strain on the other parts of the machine that might cause an excessive and uneven tear that will weaken the electric wheelchair. Having proper tires also maximizes the ease of use and range of your device.  

Moving in Unsafe Environments

When traveling in unfavorable weather or terrain such as rain or mud, you should travel slower to prevent any form of accidents from happening in unsafe conditions. Electric wheelchairs may lose their traction on the slippery surface and it may slow down or even stop the device from operating. Try to avoid uneven grounds and always ensure the path ahead is of solid grounding and dry before moving forward.  

Moving in New Environments

You should not use their power wheelchair alone in environments unfamiliar to you. You might be proficient operating the device indoors but the outdoor conditions are drastically different so it is best for you to get used to the new environment with some assistance before operating alone when you are more familiar.  

Moving Around in Crowded or Dark Areas

The height of the electric wheelchair may be slightly low for everyone to notice and the visibility of the wheelchair may be an issue when moving around at night. Avoid moving at fast speeds to prevent accidents in crowded areas. You can use a flag or other markers such as a bell or LED lights to make yourself known and visible to the crowd.  

Do Not Rush and Power the Electric Wheelchair at Full Speed

Your safety, as well as others, is of paramount importance. Avoid powering your device at full power in a crowded area to avoid knocking over people and most importantly, do not try to beat the traffic light when crossing roads. Your mobility device may not be fast enough and you could be stuck in the middle of the road during the change of lights, endangering your life.  

Plan and Look Ahead Before Moving the Device

We encourage you to plan ahead and ensure the route to your destination is wheelchair friendly to prevent any unforeseen roadblocks from occurring. Unless your wheelchair is designed to scale steps or curbs, you should always avoid moving forcefully onto them or onto uneven grounds as it may tip your wheelchair over.  

Practice The Individual Movements with Someone You Require Before Actually Doing It Yourself

Daily activities such as bending or reaching out to items may be daunting to people in wheelchairs. The additional movement may shift their center of gravity away, resulting in them tipping over. For a start, you can practice the required actions in the presence of someone so he or she can assist if you need help. You will also need to learn the proper way of handling and managing yourself before attempting any action independently in the future.  

Turn The Power Off When Not in Use

You should switch off the power to your device whenever you are charging its battery or when you are getting in or out of your electric wheelchair to prevent any accidental short circuits or lunges.  

Have A Phone with You at All Times and Someone On Speed Dial

You are encouraged to have your phone with you at all times for you to contact someone in the event of an emergency to help you out when needed. This is especially important when the user is hurt, trapped, alone and unable to call for help.  

3. Maintaining Your Mobility Device

Maintaining your device is relatively easy and it is important for you to keep your electric wheelchair in good working condition by maintaining your device regularly to maximize its lifespan and operation. Poor maintenance can result in shortened battery life and lower cycle counts. These are the few ways you can maintain your device and more detailed explanations can be found in the user manual.

  • It is important for you to read the user manual on how to properly manage and maintain your batteries.
  • Do regular checks on the batteries and for all movable parts are not worn out by wear and tear as it may affect the overall function of your wheelchair. Ensure they are dry and not corroded or rusty. Use a damp cloth to clean the dirt from your device.
  • Use your electric wheelchair regularly as it will extend the lifespan of the batteries of the device. You should charge the device even though it is not being used to keep the batteries active and running.
  • Charging your device for about 8 to 10 hours a day depending on the battery capacity will ensure that your device is charged fully before leaving for your destination the next day.
  • Excess batteries should be kept in a cool and dry place and charged regularly to keep it running.

Electric Wheelchair – Frequently Asked Questions

The answers to most of your questions can be found in the instruction manual that comes with the electric wheelchair as it contains accurate information about using and maintaining the equipment. As different models of an electric wheelchair may require different usage and maintenance, we encourage users to read through the manual for a better understanding of their equipment.  

Who can use Power electric wheelchair

who can use electric wheelchair children elderly
Anyone facing mobility issues can use an electric wheelchair.

Anyone young and old who are facing an issue with mobility can use an electric wheelchair. Do take note that there are different types of wheelchairs catered to different people with different needs. An electric wheelchair for an adult should not be used by a child. Here is a Guide to owning a Power Electric Wheelchair in Singapore

How Long to Charge the Batteries Fully?

It depends on the model of the motorized wheelchair and the capacity of the battery used. Batteries of a larger capacity will require a longer time to charge but charging hours usually vary between 8 to 10 hours or more for a full charge. You should only charge your device with the approved adapter included with the power wheelchair in order to deliver the correct charge to prevent any overcharges or short circuits. Detailed instructions on charging can be found within the user manual that comes with your electric wheelchair.  

How Long Can the Electric Wheelchair Go On a Full Charge? And How Far Can It Go?

Electric wheelchairs, on a full charge, can typically last up to 18 hours with a driving range of 20km on flat surfaces. However, the distance and range of your electric wheelchair is affected by a few factors:

  • Battery type, state, and age
  • Users weight
  • Terrain of travel

Battery Type, State, and Age

Sealed lead acid batteries are usually used in mobility devices as they are more resistant to corrosion and overcharging, both of which increases the life and charging cycle of the battery. You should change your batteries every 12 to 18 months to ensure their batteries are in prime condition for the electric wheelchair to operate optimally.  

Users Weight

The weight of the rider can affect the speed and range of the mobility device as it affects the stress placed on the batteries and motors to generate the required energy to move the device.  

Terrain of Travel

A rough, uneven or steep terrain may slow down the electric wheelchair as there is an additional strain on the batteries and motors to overcome the obstacles, resulting in power drain. Remember to choose the right electric wheelchair that caters to your traveling needs.  

How Often Should I Charge the Batteries?

You should fully charge the batteries of your mobility device once every week even if the device is left unused. You can refer to the user manual for further instructions on maintaining the batteries.  

When Should I Replace the Batteries to My Electric Wheelchair?

The batteries should last a minimum of 6 months and it can potentially last for a period of two years with proper maintenance and light usage. It is highly dependent on usage and the maintenance of the batteries and the mobility device. You should change your batteries once every year to ensure the batteries are safe and in prime condition for the equipment to operate optimally and avoid damage. If your electric wheelchair is experiencing the following problems, it may be time for you to change your batteries:

  • Gradual or sudden loss of power
  • A decrease in traveling distance
  • External damage to the batteries
  • Visible effects of wear and tear

Power Electric Wheelchair Repairs

 repair wheelchair joystick parts
Approach your dealer for your electric wheelchair repair

Power electric wheelchairs should come with a warranty period regardless of where you purchase the equipment from. With proper care and management, the parts such as the joystick should last as long as the lifespan of the electric wheelchair. But should they spoil, you can return to the dealer you purchased the power electric wheelchair from and have them fix or replace the broken parts.  

Power Electric Wheelchair Rental

There are different companies offering wheelchair rental services and they will have different ways of charging their customers for the rental. Some of the common recurring charges are:

  • Rental fees
  • Security deposits
  • Delivery fees
  • Collection Fees
  • Surcharges

It is highly encouraged for you to get your own electric wheelchair as it will always be available for your personal use and it only involves a one-time fee. Electric wheelchairs for rent are subjected to availability and renters may not be able to get the specific device they are looking for. Though the one-time fee may be expensive at the start, the recurring charges may add up and exceed the onetime fee for prolonged use so it is more worthwhile to get your personal mobility device.   Mobility is an important aspect of independence and electric wheelchairs offer users the freedom and independence they need to move about and carry out day to day tasks efficiently and effectively. SeniorCare provides the most reliable and trusted brand of motorized wheelchairs available at the most competitive prices to satisfy your mobility needs. Our electric wheelchairs are listed below for your convenience and feel free to contact us should you have any inquiries about our electric wheelchairs. Let us help you regain your mobility and independence. Check out one of our electric wheelchairs below!  

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