Golf Cart Safety Guide – 14 Tips to Safe Carting
Let’s face it. Golf carts and low-speed vehicles are becoming more and more popular. They are driving off fairways and into our neighborhood streets. They are often carrying beer and children and are mingling with regular car traffic. While it’s nice to see the masses turning to this efficient way of transportation, safety issues are becoming a large concern.
The safety record of golf carts is not nationally tracked and while finding statistics of golf-cart related injuries is challenging, it is most certainly a growing trend in the U.S. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC.gov) approximately 18,000 people required emergency care due to golf carts in 2015 alone. And according to The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database, electric cart accidents could be as high as 100,000 incidents per year.
Like all vehicle drivers, golf cart operators should not just be driving defensively, but strategically. Tragedy can face golf cart operators in seemingly the most minor of accidents.
So how can you stay safe in golf carts, on and off public roads? We’ve created 15 tips to help keep you safe while enjoying your electric cart.
Electric Cart Safety Guide
- Keep Arms and Legs Inside the Vehicle
We know this from riding carnival rides and roller coasters. Keep your appendages inside. It’s that simple. It can be tempting with open-air bliss to stick an arm or leg out. Don’t. If the vehicle is driving too close to something else, it can lead to disaster. One common way people get very hurt very quickly is dragging a leg out of the cart while driving. All it takes is an unseen curb or rock and in an instant, a very serious knee or ankle injury can result.
- Use Seat Belts
Most golf carts don’t have seat belts but this is changing. LSV laws are widely mandating seat belts. Have seat belts installed on your golf cart if you don’t currently have them. Don’t overlook one of the most obvious vehicle safety measures.
- Abide by All Standard Traffic Rules
Too many people think that the rules of the road don’t apply to golf carts. This is a dangerous perspective. Just because you may not have to register your cart at the DMV doesn’t mean that you can blow off stop signs and traffic lights or drive in the center of the road or turn without hand signals. Follow the rules.
- Carts Are Not A Legal Alternative to Drinking and Driving
“But officer… I’m not drinking and driving. I’m in a golf cart.” It doesn’t work that way. A person who drives under the influence of drugs or alcohol can and will face arrest and charges. Just because it is a golf cart doesn’t mean a person will escape a DUI.
- Drive Defensively
On a road with cars, a golf cart is low on the totem. Always be looking out for cars passing, and drive defensively… if not strategically. Anticipate what other vehicles will do and react accordingly.
- Avoid Driving in Extreme Weather
Most golf carts don’t handle well in poor weather conditions. Be super careful on wet roads. I’m not sure why anyone would feel the need to take a golf cart out in the snow but avoid driving in the white stuff. Golf carts do not possess the same technologies as automobiles and are limited in their adaptability.
- Protect Your Valuables
Golf carts are exposed and a wonderful target for thieves. Protect all valuables by either locking them up in a compartment or taking them.
- Perform Safety Checks and Maintenance Twice a Year
If properly cared for, golf carts can last a long time. It is still essential to maintain them and have them checked out so that everything is in working order. Thankfully, golf cart maintenance is not complicated and rarely expensive.
- Have Headlights Installed
Generally, it is not smart to drive golf carts at night. Most states and jurisdictions prohibit night driving. Still, it is essential to have headlights and taillights installed. The more visibility your cart has the safer you will be.
- Don’t Allow Children to Drive Golf Carts
While many areas don’t require a valid driver’s license for cart drivers, that shouldn’t mean you should get your 10-year a golf cart for Christmas. Most jurisdictions prohibit drivers under the age of 16. Only those that are old enough and familiar with driving and handling electric carts should be operating them.
- Don’t Overload Your Cart
Carts have relatively low carrying capacities. Adding too much weight to the vehicle can create problems. Trying to cram seven people on a 4-seat cart can lead to bad things.
- Always Be Aware of Your Environment
Most golf carts don’t come with rearview mirrors and many are custom made for carts. It is an exceptional idea to have mirrors installed on your cart and they are relatively inexpensive. Always check behind the vehicle before backing up and be aware of blind spots. Never assume that other drivers will get out of the way.
- Pedestrians Have the Right of Way
Those on foot still have the right away. And yes, you can get in the same amount of trouble for hitting a pedestrian with a golf cart as opposed to a Nissan.
- Avoid Going off Road
Don’t get mad at the messenger. I know it’s tempting to go off road but unless your cart is specifically built for that, avoid it. Golf carts are primarily designed to drive on smooth, manicured grass and paved paths. Trying to climb over rocks, ascend steep hills and cross creeks is going to take its toll.
Golf carts and low-speed vehicles are smart and extremely efficient, as long as they are used responsibly. Take extra precautions and can keep the roads safe. Carting is generally safe, but just Google “golf cart accidents” and see what can happen when reckless people operate golf carts.