Christmas may be over but the cold weather probably isn’t. January and February are both notoriously cold months in the UK with rain, ice and even snow making outside conditions treacherous. For wheelchair users and others with mobility concerns, this type of weather is even more of a problem. While ramps are a great idea if you’re looking to improve accessibility, the sloped surface can become especially dangerous during wet and icy weathers.
How to ensure wheelchair ramp safety this winter
If you already have a ramp or are currently looking for a ramp solution, be sure you consider how you’ll keep it safe in wet or icy conditions. Here are our top tips for ensuring safe accessibility this winter.
Be preventative, not just reactive
Stay alert for weather updates and put in place any preventative measures before it gets icy or snowy. You can find products that help prevent the build-up of ice for all types of surfaces, but they must be applied before ice and snow accumulate. If it does snow, be sure to clear snow as soon as possible and stay alert to keep the snow cleared with a shovel.
Know your surface
Some surfaces such as wood, and aluminium in particular, can be notoriously slippery during wet and icy weather. If your ramp doesn’t already have a grippy surface, use traction paint or strips to help prevent slipping. These paint and strips have a rough grippy surface much like sandpaper and can be found in most DIY stores at an affordable price. This method is especially helpful in icy weather. Be warned, however, that ramps with a sandpaper type grip surface shouldn’t be left out in wet weather. Rain can cause the grip surface to break up and could become a hazard.
Keep your ramp safe
If it is icy, there are plenty of de-icing products that are safe for metal as well as concrete surfaces and can melt ice in below freezing temperatures. You can also keep some salt on hand, but be warned that constant application of salt can affect metal ramp surfaces long term. Salt can also damage soil or plants in the area and can even damage concrete if used constantly, and only works for temperatures above freezing.
Get a grip
You can provide extra grip on your ramp with substances such as sand, ash and even cat litter, all of which can help prevent slipping in icy weathers. Stock up on these products if weather reports indicate there may be snow or ice.
The perfect solution
Whether you already have a permanent ramp in place or are looking for a ramp solution, why not consider a temporary wheelchair ramp. Because these ramps are easy to set up, remove and store, they are perfect for cold weathers. There’s no risk of snow or ice build-up, and the gripping surface is safe for wheelchair users.
Staying safe with wheelchairs in winter
If you are a wheelchair user or know someone who is and expect to be out and about this winter, make sure you stay aware. Ice, snow and other dangerous weathers can make simple journeys difficult, and roadworks or other obstacles become even more dangerous. Here are some simple tips to keep in mind.
- Travel with someone. Whether it’s getting out of vehicles or simply navigating icy pavements, make sure you have someone around to help.
- Plan ahead. Take a look at weather reports and plan your journey to stay on top of any potential hazards. Google Maps are becoming increasingly helpful in indicating wheelchair accessible areas and routes, and looking at the latest weather reports can help you identify potential problems with your journey.
- Stay alert on your journey. Look out for potential hazards such as puddles and patches of ice that might not always be obvious but can be dangerous. Try to avoid these areas, and ask for help if you’re ever unsure.
Look for advice
If you’re unsure about the safest accessibility ramp options, especially when it comes to the colder months and hazardous weather, our experienced team is always on hand to help. From our semi-permanent modular ramps with a perforated surface to drain water from the ramp surface to our temporary and extra gripping premium wheelchair ramps, we can help guide you to the safest and most affordable option for your needs.