Golf Cart Safety

by Paul Akers

Golf carts are being used in more ways and in more places than ever before. You can find them on campuses, campgrounds, fairgrounds, airports, business parks, and even golf cart friendly communities. Increased usage certainly has its advantages. They are often times less expensive and more convenient than normal vehicles, and electric carts help to reduce emissions, making them an eco-friendly alternative.

Unfortunately, though, increased usage equates to an increase in accidents. Especially since they are not equipped with many of the traditional safety features that you would find on regular vehicle. With the exception of street legalities, there are very few laws that enforce golf cart safety and driving standards.

So this is where individual responsibility comes into play. One of the easiest ways to stay safe is to maintain the same conscious and diligent driving techniques you learned from driving your regular vehicle. Here are some safety tips to consider:

- Speed: While on the golf course, golf carts traditionally drive anywhere from 5 – 15 miles per hour, but it’s not uncommon to find carts that can travel upward of 25 miles per hour. Just like regular cars, appropriate speeds in appropriate places will help reduce accidents. Take into consideration the weather, the terrain, and those around you before “smashing the pedal.”

- Seat Belts: The most common accident occurs when the passenger is ejected from the cart after the driver makes a sharp turn at a fast speed or on an uneven terrain. Although this can seem harmless since golf carts are so low to the ground, the truth of the matter is that ejected passengers have little or no time to react and can be subject to extreme head and neck injuries. There have even been fatalities recorded as a result of passenger ejection. But you can practically eliminate passenger ejection by installing seat belts. Golf cart seat belts are relatively inexpensive and the increased safety is worth every penny.

- Number of Passengers: It is a good rule of thumb to only carry as many passengers as there are seats available. Overloading your cart increases the chances of an accident or injury, and the excess weight capacity will cause undue stress on your engine and tires.

- Watching Hands and Feet: This is a good reminder for young passengers who feel like golf carts are big toys. While they are a lot of fun to ride, the fun usually stops as soon as an otherwise preventable injury occurs. Keeping limbs inside a moving cart is pertinent to golf cart safety.

- Designated Paths: If you are riding through areas where other vehicles traverse and pedestrians are abundant, then you should mind your manners and stay on paths designated for golf carts. This reduces the chance of an accident for both you and those around you. And as always, pedestrians have the right of way.

- Maintenance: Keeping your cart in good health is another way to reduce accidents. Make sure that your tires are inflated and your batteries are properly charged. Keeping your golf cart running smoothly will make for a better and safer ride for all to enjoy.

Abiding by the rules established for regular vehicles is a good rule of thumb to follow when driving a golf cart. And understanding certain safety precautions is a valuable way to keep you and those around you safe. For more information on golf cart safety visit, a comprehensive guide to owning, operating, customizing, and accessorizing golf carts.

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