So, you’ve purchased a new mobility scooter and are ready to get out and do the things you love again. However, before you head to the mall or your favorite coffee shop, it’s important that you learn how to drive your mobility scooter first. Safety is key – you want to feel comfortable and in control before driving your new device in a public space. Below, we will teach you how to operate a mobility scooter using some simple tips and pointers.
- Learn the Basics
- Start Slow
- Practice, Practice, Practice!
- Keep the Battery Charged
- Stay Away from Challenging Surfaces
- Follow the Rules of the Road
- Don’t Panic if You Have Technical Issues
Tip #1: Learn the Basics
- Turn on: turn the scooter on by inserting the key and turning it to the right. There will be a visual cue to indicate that the scooter is on, such as the gauge moving from red to green.
- Move: lightly pull the throttle to go forward. The farther back you pull, the faster you will go.
- Brake: the scooter will brake when you release the throttle.
- Turn off: make sure the scooter has stopped moving and then turn the key to the left. Be sure to take the key with you when you get off your scooter.
Tip #2: Start Slow
Almost all mobility scooters will have a dial that can be used to adjust the speed. Consider keeping the dial at a lower level when you are first getting started, especially if you are new to using scooters. As you get more comfortable driving your mobility scooter, feel free to crank the speed up to go a little faster.
Tip #3: Practice
Like anything else, it takes time to become fully comfortable and confident when using a new mobility scooter. Take your scooter for a spin somewhere where you have a lot of open space, like a parking lot. Or, if you live in a suburban area, go for a slow ride around the block to get a feel for how the scooter operates.
Tip #4: Keep the Battery Charged
Like all electronics, your scooter needs to be charged on a regular basis. Don’t get caught out and about with a dying battery – charge your scooter overnight (6 to 7 hours) and try to bring the charger with you just in case the battery gets low.
To charge your scooter, remove the key from the unit, plug the charger into a wall outlet, and then plug the other end into the charger port on your device. Most scooters have a green light or other indicator that will change when the unit is completely charged.
Tip #5: Stay Away from Challenging Surfaces
While you won’t always be able to avoid difficult terrain when you drive your mobility scooter, it’s best to stay away from bumpy, slippery, or unstable surfaces when possible. This includes tall grass, sand, loose gravel, railroad crossings, and any sort of watery area, such as lakes, rivers, and canals.
You will eventually need to learn how to traverse obstacles like inclines and curbs, but we recommend trying to navigate around these areas when first learning to operate the scooter.
Tip #6: Follow the Rules of the Road
Driving a mobility scooter doesn’t give you any special privileges – you’ll need to follow the same rules as other pedestrians. Keep an eye out for signs and signals, and make sure you’re always aware of your surroundings. Mobility scooters are designed to be used on sidewalks and paths, not public roads, so you’ll be sharing space with walkers, joggers, and cyclists. Slow down and give a polite signal (either verbally or with the built-in horn) to let people know you are coming. Safety comes first, and with a little practice, you’ll be traversing busy public areas with ease!
Tip #7: Technical Troubles? Don’t Panic!
While not common, it’s possible your mobility scooter will breakdown or experience technical issues over its lifetime. Should you find yourself sitting atop a scooter that won’t move or turn on, don’t fret. Most technical problems are minor and can be solved with some simple troubleshooting. Turn the key off, wait ten seconds, then turn the scooter on again. If that doesn’t fix the issue, check the unit’s manual lever to make sure you’re not in freewheel mode. The scooter’s battery may also have been jostled while going over a bump and need to be reattached.
If none of these quick fixes solve the problem, consult the user manual that came with your mobility scooter or contact the manufacturer.
Learning how to drive a mobility scooter can be intimidating at first, especially if you’ve never used one before. By following the easy pointers above, you’ll be operating your scooter safely and confidently in no time!
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