The warmer weather is upon us, meaning people, if they haven’t already, will be dusting off their golf carts and hitting the links. Depending on where you live and where you are driving, golf carts may be able to lawfully driven on city streets, so expect to see more this time of year.
While most people consider golf carts to be relatively safe, it’s important to remember that they are still vehicles and that accidents do happen. You can have a lot of fun on a golf cart, but you can also end up seriously injured or injuring someone else if you don’t behave responsibly. We’ve compiled a list of the top golf cart safety tips in order to help keep you and others on the road safe.
1. Be Responsible
Anyone in your golf cart should keep their arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times. If you’ve ever been to an amusement park, you’ve probably heard the announcement, “Please keep your arms and legs inside the train (car, vehicle, etc.) until it comes to a complete stop.” The same is true of golf carts. If the cart is moving, all of your limbs should be inside.
2. Limit Passengers
Golf carts are made for a certain number of passengers. There should never be more people in your cart than there are seats for. This means that if you have a cart built for two, you only have one passenger while you are driving.
3. Obey Traffic Laws
When you are driving your golf cart on a city street, you are considered to be operating a vehicle. The golf cart is subject to the same traffic laws as a typical passenger car. Obey the laws at all times. This means no reckless driving, no tailgating and definitely no speeding.
4. Don’t Get Distracted
Distracted driving is an all too frequent cause of motor vehicle accidents. It can be easy to check your phone or send a text while operating your golf cart, believing that you couldn’t possibly hurt anyone because you are traveling at such low speeds. The truth is that you are still in a powerful machine. You need to keep your focus on the road ahead of you.
5. Use Platforms Properly
If you have a golf cart equipped with platforms in the back, sides or front, remember that these aren’t for extra passengers. These platforms are for transporting things like golf bags and shopping packages. Don’t drive your cart with anyone standing or sitting on these platforms.
6. Avoid Drinking and Driving
It’s not unusual for people to consume a few adult beverages while playing golf or spending a relaxing afternoon tooling around town. If you stop off to have a drink, don’t operate your cart. Not only can you be arrested for drunk driving, you could cause an injury accident that you will be forced to live with for the rest of your life.
7. Take It Easy on Turns
Left hand turns are more hazardous than people believe. You stand at risk of cutting someone off if you don’t check your blind spots. No matter which way you are turning, make sure you are using hand signals, especially if your vehicle isn’t equipped with turning lights. Take a look over both shoulders before you turn and always yield to oncoming traffic.
8. Reduce Speeds
Pay attention to the conditions of the road. Driving at top speed may be safe on a smooth stretch of roadway, but can be inappropriate on gravel or a road with multiple curves and sharp bends. Drive at speeds that are right for the conditions, not only of the road you are on but for the weather as well.
9. Starts and Stops
Don’t start, speed up or stop suddenly. Driving in a jerky motion is hazardous for your passengers. If you are driving on a neighborhood street, it is also dangerous for the people sharing the road with you. Remember, you are driving a vehicle. Assuming that you operate your car safely, you should be operating your golf cart in the same manner.
10. Keep Your Keys
If you leave your golf cart, make sure to take your keys with you. You should also have set the parking brake before you exit the cart and walk away. You don’t want a child or an unlicensed driving to see the keys and think it would be fun to take your cart for a joy ride. You also don’t want to risk your cart rolling backwards and striking a vehicle, pedestrian or other object
11. Watch Out For Inclement Weather
Keep an eye on the weather before you decide to head out in your cart. Golf carts are vulnerable to lightning strikes, so care should be taken not to operate them in thunderstorms. If you run into dangerous weather that you didn’t know was coming, do your best to pull over and get to safety.
12. Yield to Pedestrians
When you are operating your golf cart, always yield to pedestrians. That means even if someone is walking slowly in front of you on a trail or on a cart path on the course, yield to them. Pedestrians have the right of way in almost every, if not all, situations. If you strike a pedestrian with your golf cart, you could be criminally ot civilly liable, so watch out for people.
Golf carts are a great way to get around the course and they are a fantastic option for people who live in golf cart friendly neighborhoods and towns. If you have a golf cart and plan on bringing it out soon, keep these safety tips in mind.
If you do happen to be involved in a golf cart accident in Charlotte or elsewhere that was caused by someone else, you may be entitled to compensation for injuries and more. Reach out to our office to schedule a free case evaluation and learn more about your legal rights and options. Our experienced team is here for you and we will work tirelessly to represent you zealously so you can get the compensation that you are entitled to under the law.