Driving Tips For Scooter Users
A mobility scooter is one of the easiest vehicles to drive. Simple stop-start mechanisms, built-in speed limiters and clever braking make a scooter an efficient and a safe mode of transport. However, the very nature of being a moving vehicle means that there are a few rules to be aware of before you take your scooter for a spin.
Enjoy movement, freedom and adventure once more with our top tips for driving safely on your mobility scooter.
Driving Your Mobility Scooter
Upon delivery of your new scooter, our friendly staff will give you a thorough demo and show you how to use it properly. It's important that you feel totally comfortable and confident on your new scooter before you make your first journey.
Some tips include:
- Start small! Don’t attempt a long journey before you’ve completed a few trips closer to home
- Practice makes perfect. Find a large, safe space to practice driving your scooter before taking it out on its first trip. This builds confidence with brakes, speeds and steering
- Ensure your batteries have a full charge before you make a journey, regardless of its length
- Quickly scan your scooter for a flat tyre or a puncture before you set off to guarantee a stree-free trip
Be Terrain Smart
A mobility scooter is the perfect way to explore the great outdoors. Scooters cater to a range of terrains, but we always advise avoiding:
- Uneven or very steep ground
- Railway crossings or tracks
- Water-lined walkways without appropriately decking or safety rails
- Graveled, muddy or sandy ground
Mobility scooters are pavement friendly but always be aware of some common obstacles. These include curbs and steps, ramps and inclines, uneven or gritty surfaces. The weather will also impact how safe a path will be – watch out for wet and slippery surfaces.
Always approach a ramp slowly and with caution for a safe transition with your scooter. Ramps with 180-degree turns, or a ‘switchback’, can be very narrow with sharp bends that make it hard to turn. Practice your turning technique to help you board a switchback ramp with confidence.
Your mobility scooter’s turnstile has been engineered for controlled steering, but a little practice beforehand will help you to navigate tight turns.
Try not to get distracted when driving your mobility scooter. Keep an eye out for sharp turns in the road and avoid making sudden twists on your seat. This will help to reduce the risk of your vehicle loosing balance and tipping over.
Another tip is to utilize your basket, which has been fitted centrally for a reason. Loading up your handlebars with shopping bags or personal possessions will cause your scooter to become imbalanced. This can make it hard to steer and you may loose control of your mobility scooter.
The classification of your mobility scooter will define how fast you can go. Class 2 scooters, such as car boot or collapsible scooters, can travel at a maximum speed of 4mph. Class 2 scooters must stick to off-road routes, such as pavements and pedestrianised areas.
Class 3 mobility scooters are bigger and more powerful models, made for tough terrains and main roads. Their larger size and output allow them to hit speeds of up to 8mph. Be aware that this only applies when being driven off-pavement.
Get to know your mobility scooter’s range of speeds so you feel comfortable at both your slowest and your fastest mph. Practice driving at speeds to boost your confidence when changing gear whilst out and about.
Off Road Etiquette
When using a pavement or driving in a pedestrianized area, always be aware of others around you. Though the maximum speed of 4mph sounds slow, this is a still a lot faster than a walking human.
Always give pedestrians the right of way and be considerate of those using the pavement, as they might not always hear or see you coming. Being a responsible driver helps others to be aware of your presence, which keeps everyone safe.
On Road Advice
Class 3 mobility scooters let you travel along main roads and pavements. Motorways are out of bounds, but you are permitted to drive along dual carriageways with maximum speeds of 50mph.
Class 3 mobility scooters must follow the highway code are not permitted to use bus or cycle lanes. Always be aware of the vehicles around you and keep your amber lights flashing for the entirety of the drive.
Slow down when approaching main roads and use dropped kerbs for a smoother transition. Consider an alternative route if a roundabout is along your journey. Roundabouts are very hard to navigate, so its always best to avoid them for a safer, less stressful trip.
When you purchase your mobility scooter we will let you it’s maximum kerb height. This will help you to identifty which pavements are safe to mount or dismount.
Always approach a kerb with caution, reducing your speed and using dropped kerbs where available. Level crossings and flat surfaces also make for a smoother, safer transition.
Avoiding high kerbs will reduce the risk of your scooter tipping. It will also keep your batteries strong and tyres puncture-free.
Regardless of where you use your mobility scooter, you must turn on your lights when driving at night.
Your scooter will be fitted with front and rear lights. Some customers like to add LED lights for extra visibility. These are usually battery powered and can be easily attached to your scooter. You can also use your scooter’s USB port to plug in an electric light.
Class 3 scooter users should consider wearing a reflective jacket or applying reflective strips to their scooter when using the roads. Making yourself as visible as possible when out and about adds another level of safety.
Modes of Movement
Mobility scooters tend to have three key modes of movement:
Drive mode: your scooter will only move when you want it to. The break is always on and only releases when you choose to move. This should always be your default scooter setting.
Freewheel mode: you’re in control of maneuvering your scooter without putting the power on. This is ideal when wheeling your mobility scooter into a small space or around a tight corner at home.
Important! Only use freewheel mode when you can be sure that you have full control of your scooter. Putting your mobility scooter into this mode whilst on an incline or approaching a decline is not appropriate and could lead to an accident. Don’t forget to switch back into drive-mode as soon as you are finished maneuvering your scooter.
Push too fast mode: a safety mechanism to prevent your scooter from unintentionally speeding up and causing you to lose control whilst in freewheel mode.
Don’t forget that comprehensive insurance is included in every Easy Pay Mobility hire. This means that in the unlikely event of a breakdown, accident or theft, you are fully covered. Simply give us a call and let us take care of the rest. See how it works here.