Golf Cart

Safety Fundamentals

Safety First

Just like professional baseball players who annually attend spring training to work on the fundamentals of the game (ground balls, run-down drills, sliding, hitting the cutoff man), drivers of golf carts will also benefit by brushing up on the fundamentals. The ECCL urges those who drive golf carts to spare a few moments of their time to make sure you are aware of all the necessary precautions that should be taken when in charge of a golf cart:

THE FUNDAMENTALS (17 WAYS TO BE SAFE)

Obey the Rules

Never drive recklessly or joy ride. Drive courteously. Obey all vehicle traffic laws and rules of the road.

Stay Inside

Drivers and passengers should keep all body parts (arms, legs, feet) inside the cart while the vehicle is in motion, except when signaling a turn.

Designated Driver

Operate the vehicle from the driver’s side only.

Careful Turns

Check blind spots before turning. When making a left-hand turn, yield to the thru traffic lane and merge into that lane before turning left. Never make a left-hand turn from the golf cart lane.

Smooth and Steady

Avoid excessive speed, sudden starts, stops, and fast turns.

Adapt to Circumstances

Reduce speed due to driving conditions, especially hills or other inclines or declines, blind corners, intersections, pedestrians, and inclement weather.

Drive Sober

Never drive intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or narcotic.

Don't Overload

Only carry the number of passengers for which there are seats.

Stay Seated

Do not allow anyone to ride standing in the vehicle or on the back platform of the vehicle. Do not put the vehicle in motion until all passengers are safely seated inside the vehicle.

Arm Signals

Always use hand signals to indicate your intent to turn due to the small size and limited visibility of the turn signals on a golf cart.

Secure your Cart

Do not leave keys in the golf cart unattended, and make sure the parking brake is set.

Be Aware

Always yield to pedestrians and be aware of motor vehicles.

Turnover Hazard

Avoid sharp turns at maximum speed, and drive straight up and down slopes to reduce the risk of passenger ejections and rollover. Be especially careful on the golf course around bunkers, and take extra care when going over hills where you cannot see down the other side.

Pay Attention

Avoid distractions while operating the golf cart just as you would in an automobile. Be safe and attentive — avoid talking, texting, or reading while driving, reaching for objects, applying makeup, or eating.

Click it

If used on the roads, golf carts should be equipped with seat belts for the driver and all passengers. The driver and all occupants should utilize available seatbelts anytime the vehicle is in use.

Check Behind You

Carefully turn and look behind the golf cart before backing up.

Weather Alert

Use extreme caution in inclement weather. Although a golf cart may shield you from the rain, it may not protect you from a lightning strike.

The Most Common Causes of Golf Cart Accidents

Below is a list of the most common golf cart accidents or causes of injuries resulting from carts.

Overloaded Golf Carts.1

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Golf carts can range with their carrying capacity anywhere between 450 to 800 pounds of weight. Sitting two to three people is generally a safe weight, but any more than that and the golf cart is at risk of tipping over and causing an accident. Golf cart accidents have the potential for serious injuries; an overloaded golf cart carrying seven people toppled over resulted in severe injuries in a 2019 accident.

An overwhelmed golf cart is also tricky to brake and accelerate, which increases serious collisions.

Lack of Seatbelts

Whether from reckless driving or U-turns, Sharp turns can throw people off the golf cart and result in serious golf cart accidents. Many golf cart accident injuries result from a lack of seat belts. While the steering wheel may brace drivers, all the other passengers have nothing preventing them from being flung off the cart and into the road, potentially further endangering themselves.

Driving Under the Influence

Even though a golf cart may be much smaller than a car, operating a golf cart under the influence of alcohol can result in collisions or accidents that can seriously injure or kill drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.

In Florida, you can be arrested, charged, convicted, and sentenced for a DUI while driving a golf cart under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances.

Distracted Driving

Just as distracted driving is responsible for hundreds of devastating auto accidents every year, the same goes for golf carts. When drivers are distracted by things inside or outside the vehicle – texting, eating, or other passengers in the cart – there is the potential for a golf carting accident.

Just because golf carts are much smaller than cars and go at slower speeds doesn’t mean that using your phone while driving is any less dangerous. Golf cart accidents due to distracted driving can even be more dangerous due to the fewer safety features of golf carts, including the lack of seatbelts.

Reference:

  1. Top Five Reasons for Golf Cart Accidents Sept 11th
     Prepared by the Lowman Law Firm. https://www.lowmanlawfirm.com/blog/reasons-for-golf-cart-accidents

 Prepared by Mark Russet, Safety and Transportation Co-Chair

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