One of the main concerns before buying a golf cart is safety. The Consumer Product Safety Commission estimated 18,000 golf cart-related injuries in 2015. People are now worried if these cases will increase as golf carts are becoming more popular.
Russ Rader, a spokesman for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thinks that the states where golf carts are allowed on public roads are not helping in the country’s 50 years of vehicle safety progress.
The spokesman adds that golf carts don’t even have to follow basic safety rules that can protect drivers, which makes the more dangerous on the road.
Is there such thing as golf cart safety? Of course there is! Contrary to what the skeptics say, the new street legal golf carts available nowadays makes driving a golf cart way safer than before – as long as you know how to use it properly.
Cars are Not Safer Than Street Legal Golf Carts
The National Safety Council estimated 38,300 people were killed and 4.4 million were injured on US roads in 2015.
Fred L. Somers Jr. of the International Light Transportation Vehicle Association thinks that the take on these golf cart-related accidents are way overblown. The numbers on golf cart-related accidents are even far from the records of motorcycle crashes.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,976 people died in motorcycle crashes and 88,000 were injured in 2015.
Golf Cart Rules and Regulations
Accidents happen. Even though street legal golf carts have lower numbers of accidents compared to cars and motorcycles, it’s still important that drivers prioritize golf cart safety.
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that as long as golf cars and other similar vehicles are incapable of exceeding 20 miles per hour, these are subject to only state and local requirements regarding safety equipment.
Street legal golf carts, as low-speed vehicles, are required to be equipped with the following:
- Stop lamps
- Turn signal lamps
- Reflex reflectors
- Parking brakes
- Rearview mirrors
- Vehicle identification numbers
Each city and state have their own set of rules and regulations for golf cart safety for streets. Common requirements for street legal golf carts include the following:
- Golf carts must be registered and insured
- Drivers must have valid driver’s licenses
- Golf carts must be only operated between sunrise and sunset
- Golf carts are only allowed to operate at a top speed of 20 – 25 mph
Major Causes of Golf Cart Accidents
So whats causing all these golf cart accidents? Here are the leading causes in the US:
- Cart overturn
- Falling or jumping from a moving golf cart
- Hitting a stationary object
- Hit and run by another golf cart
- Injury in getting into or out of the cart
Golf Cart Safety Tips
If you own a street legal golf cart, it’s best to know the basic safety measures you can do before, during, and after operating it. Doing these measures don’t take too much time, so there are no excuses in missing doing these.
Here are some golf cart safety tips to remember:
- Check for tire inflation, cuts, or punctures.
- Check the steering, reverse gears, and brakes.
- If the golf cart needs repair, don’t use it
- Follow the required speed limit
- Slow down and honk the horn on every intersection
- .Never operate a golf cart with more passengers than it is designed to carry
- Remain seated when the vehicle is moving
- Shut off engine when refueling or recharging the unit
- Use only approved battery chargers for charging
- Disconnect chargers before driving
- When a golf cart is not in use, place the control lever in a neutral position and remove the key
- Have a fire extinguisher
- Drive only on designated golf cart paths if required
- Passengers and drivers should keep their hands and feet within the confines of the moving golf cart at all times
Check Your City’s Own Golf Cart Rules and Regulations
The laws on street legal golf carts vary on every state and every city. So before enjoying a drive or ride around town, please check the laws implemented in your location.