Using a Wheelchair in the Rain – Tips & Tricks

Using a Wheelchair in the Rain

Rains can be great for vacations, and people love to travel while it’s pouring outside, while some enjoy looking at the rain sitting inside. However, it is essential to discuss how electric wheelchair users should tackle sudden rain when they are outdoors.

Woman with loss of leg function sitting at the wheelchair and enjoying of the weather

Let us discuss what measures one should take when stuck outside with a wheelchair on a rainy day.

How Durable is Your Wheelchair While it’s Raining?

A man helps a person in a wheelchair to reach his destination by walking in the rain

Not all mobility devices or gadgets that run on electricity are 100% water-proof, and none are made for the shower. If the situation demands you to take your electric chair outside, what measures can you take to save your wheelchair from getting wet?

Be Extremely Careful While Moving

Do not go into areas with potholes and drainage areas. Avoid places with weak drainage systems because those are the areas that tend to flood.

Have a lookout in the areas and take common routes that are easy to pass. If possible, take assistance before going out. If not, then look for alternative ways.

Carry Essential Accessories if Possible

Several products are available in the market that can help you keep your wheelchair dry, such as:

Water-resistant ponchos exclusively made for wheelchair use can be an excellent aid for wheelchair users. However, they can be bulky at the same time.

Canopies or wheelchair-attachable umbrellas can be of great use. Not everybody loves attaching an umbrella to their wheelchair; therefore, hats, gloves, and water-resistant rain cover can save you and your wheelchair from getting wet. 

A combination of wheelchair gloves and waterproof covers can protect you from any possible damage.

Be Cautious While Moving Your Wheelchair

Moving across the streets can be difficult, especially when using a wheelchair. Moreover, crossing rocky and sloppy areas can be an incredible challenge during the rains because the surface can be slippery.

Dirt, sand, and gravel might not be obstacles during sunny and dry days. However, it can turn into mud traps during rainy days. If you are traveling without assistance, check if the area is suitable for wheelchairs.

Protect the Electronic Components

If your wheelchair is getting wet, you should first protect the essential components like the batteries and control panel.

It is challenging to take a power wheelchair outside on a rainy day since electric vehicles are not made water resistant. However, a few water sprinkles won’t ruin the functioning of your wheelchair, but they can’t survive hours of constant rain.

Move at a Low-Speed

Take your time traveling using a wheelchair, especially in the rainy season. Wheelchair rims can be slippery when wet, making you lose control of the chair. 

Ensure that you are not slipping and the breaks are in control. 

Take caution while transferring out of the car. Pat dry your hands and ensure that you have a good grip over the movement of the wheelchair.

What Will Happen if Your Power Wheelchair Gets Wet?

Although wheelchairs are durable to keep up with the constantly changing environment, prolonged exposure to water for a long duration can be problematic. 

Unlike manual wheelchairs, power wheelchairs run on batteries and a changing system. The electronic components of the wheelchair are responsible for moving the wheelchair.

The electrical circuits of the wheelchair can corrode by excess water contact. Corrosion can produce resistance and an increase in temperature, which in turn causes more corrosion. The process can ultimately lead to a short circuit.

Apart from corrosion, water and moisture can cause your metal mechanical components to rust. Just like corrosion, rust can also build up over time. A more common problem seen nowadays with wheelchairs exposed to constant water includes growing mold on the damp upholstery, after which you might need to replace the cushioning of your wheelchair.

All these problems develop over time; however, what immediate problems can you face?

After you’ve been through heavy rains, your wheelchair control panel can short out, leading to severe damage. Therefore, a day outside in the rain might be a little too expensive.

So, let us now discuss things we can do to save our wheelchairs.

What Can You Do to Save Your Wheelchair After it Gets Wet?

Here are a few steps to save your wheelchair after it gets wet:

Step 1- Pat dry your wheelchair using a dry towel. Ensure that you clean all the areas, including the control panel and underneath the arms. Do not leave any nooks and crannies where water can reside.

Step 2- Remove the batteries and wipe them using a tower to remove excess water. Keep the batteries aside for a few hours to give them enough time to get rid of moisture. Also, avoid direct exposure to heat since lithium-ion batteries can surpass heat and develop stress.

Step 3- Store the wheelchair in a warm place and ensure it’s scorched before you use it again.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do wheelchairs stay dry in the rain?

To save your wheelchair from getting wet, you can use a rain cover to cover the wheelchair’s electrical components. Moreover, you can use a canopy or an umbrella to save you and your wheelchair’s upper body from rain.

However, Stopping under a shelter during uninvited rains is always a better idea.

Can my wheelchair get wet?

Electric wheelchairs can be water resistant but not waterproof. Therefore, if you are outside, and it suddenly starts raining, you might have to protect the electric parts of your wheelchair.

Can manual wheelchairs get wet?

Rain in monsoons and snow in the winter can ruin your travel experience on a mobility scooter. However, manual wheelchairs stay on the upper hand. They may get wet, but there won’t be any severe damage to your wheelchair because of the rain since there are no electrical components.

Can I use an electric wheelchair in the shower?

We don’t see a reason why you would take your electric wheelchair in the shower. It’s not recommended and should never be done.