Man in a Wheelchair in the Snow

A ramp is a simple tool that has helped humanity for thousands of years move incredibly heavy objects. After all, it takes a lot less force to push something across a smooth surface than it does to lift it and carry it. Ramps were believed to have been used to move the heavy blocks and stones that built the ancient Egyptian pyramids 5,000 years ago and Stonehenge in England. We know the ancient Greeks used paved ramps to drag ships across land. They did this across the Isthmus of Corinth beginning in the 5th century BC.

However, this simple machine remained primarily a tool to move heavy objects and not people — until New York City’s Grand Central Terminal, which opened in 1913. Ramps were installed everywhere instead of stairs in order to speed up passengers hauling luggage, strollers, and wheelchairs. Soon, the idea caught on, and more ramps were installed all across America. Nevertheless, ramps, and wheelchair ramps in particular, were not found in many public places. This is because those with disabilities were taught to hide their disability. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who needed a wheelchair and a walker due to his contraction of polio, even had secret elevators installed to hide his condition. The belief was in that era that a disability was something to be ashamed of; such a shame. Even President John F Kennedy went to great pains to hide his pains from the public.

Finally, with many Americans returning home from the wars (World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War) with disabilities and mobility-related issues, companies took note. However, it took the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 to make wheelchair ramps required by all new construction buildings. Many nowadays are utilizing newer technology, such as elevators and lifts, to make it even easier for those who need help to have it.

Able Care Group has dedicated the last 30 years to helping residents of New Jersey with disabilities have access to the equipment they need to not only make their lives easier, but also to be able to go to the places they want to go. Below, we’ll offer up tips on how to care for your wheelchair ramp, as well as how to de-ice it in the winter. Call us today to get started!


Winterizing your wheelchair ramp is a must, especially if you live in cold climates where snow or sleet is a given. The concern here is safety as snow and ice can make wheelchair ramps unsafe to use if not properly taken care of. Able Care Group in New Jersey recommends the following in order to winterize your wheelchair ramp:

  • Clear the ramp and sidewalks of snow. If there’s too much snow, your wheelchair won’t go up the ramp because the tires will get stuck. You’ll want to shovel off your ramp and the sidewalk around the wheelchair ramp as soon as it snows to keep it safe.
  • Use the appropriate tools. You’ll want to use the appropriate shovel and tools for your particular wheelchair ramp. For example, on concrete, you can use a metal shovel. On an aluminum wheelchair ramp, you don’t want to use a metal shovel because the blade of the shovel can damage the ramp. Choose either a plastic shovel, a broom, or a leaf-blower if the snow is light. Able Care Group offers a variety of materials for your wheelchair ramp so you can match your home or office space. We offer aluminum wheelchair ramps, steel ramps, wood ramps, and portable ramps. Be sure to use the appropriate materials on all of our wheelchair ramps.
  • Use a de-icer or ice melt. You can use a de-icing material on your wheelchair ramp during the winter, and you will probably want to if it is icy out. You’ll want to check the ingredients of your deicing material as some are okay to use on metal and some are not. For example, salt can cause corrosion on your metal ramp if left for too long. However, ice melting agents that contain non-corrosive materials can be used safely on both metal and concrete. You can also powder coat your ramp to add an extra layer of protection (and color).
  • Be prepared. If you know you’ll probably have a lot of snow, stock up on the materials you’ll need now to keep your wheelchair ramp accessible. You may need to install traction strips to prevent slipping (not recommended for aluminum ramps) and have your preferred deicing substance that will work for the particular material of your wheelchair ramp ready. Or, you can use a gritty, non-skid paint on your wooden or metal ramp to create some friction. This can create traction so it’s harder to slip. This kind of paint is available at most paint stores or hardware stores.
  • Consider snow tires. It’s true that nowadays they make snow tires for everything, including for your wheelchair. With wider tires that have a better grip, you’ll be able to navigate wheelchair ramps easily.

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One way to avoid the snow altogether is to use a portable or removable wheelchair ramp. While these wheelchair ramps are a lot more work and usually require the help of others, if you are a caregiver, this may be an option for you. These store neatly indoors, yet can be left outdoors as needed. Thus, when a snowstorm is predicted, you can bring your portable wheelchair ramp indoors to avoid any snow accumulation on it and save the hassle of care given above.

Able Care Group is dedicated to our New Jersey customers. We offer wheelchair ramps and lifts, chair lifts, and platform ramps in order to make this possible. We are veteran-friendly, offering discounts on all of our mobility equipment. When you call for a consultation, we schedule you right away and give you time to have all of your questions answered. We’ll go over all of the available options and advise you on which we think is best for your situation.

Able Care Group is a family-owned business with the experience, knowledge, know-how, and commitment to help you install and maintain your chosen chair lift, ramp, or platform lift of choice. We understand that a chair lift can be a big investment, which is why we offer 0% financing for six months for those who qualify. We guarantee our chair lifts for 100 days, and they all have manufacturer’s warranties as well. With 24/7 support, you truly can’t go wrong with us. Call us today to get started!