Outdoor Life

Golf cart safety procedures

Info Guru, Catalogs.com

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These golf cart safety procedures keep your vehicle convenient, safe and fun

It used to be golf carts were the exclusive domain of the country club set, where the gentleman's game of golf is played. However, these vehicles have become very popular among those with large properties and in certain communities where citizens are permitted to drive them on the streets. According to the National Golf Cart Association, the largest increase in cart sales is in the residential sector. 

These vehicles get you where you want to go, are low speed vehicles (LSV), small but big enough and quite enjoyable to ride in. Unfortunately, many cart drivers do not know enough or anything about golf cart safety procedures. 

Most people do not undergo formal training before operating this vehicle. This leads to unfortunate accidents. There are in excess of 10,000 cart-related injuries every year, with the most serious injuries taking place when a passenger is ejected or the vehicle rolls over. The carts do not typically have seatbelts, although some do, and there isn't any rollover protective structure (on top.)

Yes, this is a wonderful alternative means of transportation but the driver and passengers must exercise good judgment and follow safety precautions. The vehicle is suited for the street or the golf course and should not be driven on a sidewalk.

If there are seat belts, use them. Better yet, do not purchase a vehicle of this nature unless it is equipped with belts. 

These carts should have mirrors, cart lights, horns, windshield and all the standard accessories motor vehicles possess, particularly if driven on the street. 

Use hand signals when turning. Learn the traffic hand signals for right and left turns. Do not make a left turn from the golf cart lane. Move into the traffic lane before executing a left turn.

Do not dangle arms and legs outside the cart when it is in motion.

Ideally, the driver never engages in quick stops or starts, abrupt and fast turns or driving at excessive speeds.

If a cart is driven too fast and an abrupt left turn is executed this can lead to passenger ejection. Due to centrifugal force, the passenger is shoved to the right and falls out. Turning at a mere 11 mph is fast enough to toss a passenger out and onto the ground. This can result in serious injuries. 

There are 'hand hold' bars in the vehicle, rising out of the sides of the seats, as well as 'hand holds' molded into the roof. Passengers need to hold onto those to prevent ejection. 

When driven too fast, particularly down a steep incline, a rollover can occur because, among other reasons, the vehicle has rear, not front, brakes. Do not drive too speedily even if the vehicle has been modified to go faster than a typical cart. Slow down when making a turn. 

You have a horn. Use it. These vehicles are small and hard to see. Make sure you are heard and then seen.

If there is room for four passengers, that's it! No more than four should be in the cart.  

No one should stand up with the vehicle is in motion nor should they be on the back platform while the vehicle is moving. The driver should wait until all passengers are seated before stepping on the gas pedal. 

Even if driving on your own property, do not drink alcohol. This is a bad combination and may land you in the E.R.

Remember, you are not protected from lightning while in this vehicle so quickly head for home (or the clubhouse) and seek shelter. 

Use good sense, as if you were operating a car.

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