Golf carts aren’t limited to the golf course anymore. People have started driving these vehicles on college campuses, gated communities, retirement homes, private property, parks, and hiking trails.
These carts have even found their way onto public roads.
But why do people like driving golf carts so much? Well, there are a few reasons.
Golf carts are leisure vehicles. And if you have a leisure vehicle, you may as well drive it any chance you have.
Golf carts also drive at a low speed. Many golf carts can’t go over 15 MPH, and “fast” golf carts don’t reach speeds higher than 25 MPH. Because of these low speeds, many people believe that people of all ages can safely drive golf carts.
What these people don’t realize is that “children’s golf carts” aren’t always as safe as they seem.
Should Children Drive Golf Carts?
Children should NEVER drive any kind of golf cart on their own, especially without supervision.
Kids don’t have the right judgment and motor skills needed to operate a vehicle, even a slow one. Giving a child permission to drive a golf cart can result in serious injury.
Golf carts aren’t like bikes. They don’t make good toys.
While it might not look like a car, you should always treat a golf cart like a car. No one under the age of sixteen should ever get behind the wheel of any motor vehicle, and that includes a golf cart.
What Kind of Injuries Result from Golf Cart Accidents?
The number of golf cart related injuries has gone up in the last several years. Many of these injuries ranged from moderate to severe.
The injuries were actually worse in older children. So people who think letting their older kids drive golf carts is a perfectly safe idea are mistaken.
Golf carts don’t have doors or sides like traditional cars. Because of this, the most common cause of injury was getting thrown from the cart. Another common cause of injury was overturning the cart altogether.
Some of the resulting injuries include the following:
- Internal Injuries
- Respiratory Compromise
- Subdural Hematoma
These accidents can cause damage to the spine, neck, and brain. Some of these injuries can be so serious they can land your child in intensive care.
So if you let your kid behind the wheel of a golf cart, be prepared to take an expensive trip to the emergency room.
Why Are Golf Cart Injuries So Common for Children?
Golf carts don’t have the same safety measures as other forms of transportation. For example, traditional cars have seatbelts. When kids ride their bikes, they wear helmets.
They don’t have to do any of these things when they drive a golf cart. Neither seatbelts or helmets are required.
Golf Cart Safety Tips
While golf carts can pose a serious safety concern for children, they don’t have to. If you follow the right safety tips, you and your entire family can enjoy a drive around the neighborhood.
Here’s a quick list of safety measures you should follow every time you get into your golf cart.
Safety for Owners
Once you purchase a golf cart, you have to maintain it so the cart stays in good condition. That maintenance should include the following things.
Schedule Regular Upkeep
You should always make sure the tires are full and the oil is clean. If you have an electric golf cart, charge the battery often. If you have a gas golf cart, keep an extra bottle of fuel on hand. You’ll also want to check the oil tank for leaks and ensure the brakes are in working order at least once a year.
Don’t “Soup Up” Your Cart
Some owners modify their golf carts so they reach higher speeds. If safety is your main concern, don’t make any unnecessary changes to your cart. Faster speeds can make potential injuries worse.
Don’t Let Children Drive the Cart
All drivers should be over the age of 16. Don’t let younger children drive the golf cart under any circumstances.
Safety for Drivers
Golf carts might be slower than cars, but you should treat them with the same respect. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re driving your cart.
Don’t Slam on the Breaks
You should always press the brakes slowly. This is even more important when you’re going downhill. If you slam on the breaks, you might get thrown from the vehicle.
Don’t Make Sharp Turns
Sharp turns present the risk of overturning your golf cart. Drive at a slow speed around all turns.
You should wear seatbelts whenever possible. While this may not be required in parks or private property, driving unbuckled on public streets is illegal.
Drive Slow in Bad Weather
It’s a good idea to keep your golf cart at a slow speed whenever you’re driving it. But it’s even more important to drive slow in bad weather.
Don’t Drive Your Golf Cart When Drunk
Just like any other vehicle, you should stay out of your golf cart if you’ve been drinking.
Ensure All Passengers are Over Six Years of Age
Golf cart accidents can be even more dangerous for younger children. To ensure everyone’s safety, don’t let anyone under the age of six onto your golf cart.
Safety for Passengers
To stay safe during a golf cart ride, passengers should sit still and stay calm. Wild behavior could cause a passenger to fall out and get hurt.
Here’s a quick look at how passengers should sit in a golf cart while it’s driving.
- Wear a seatbelt
- Keep both feet on the floor
- Sit with their back against the seat
- Keep arms and legs inside the cart
- Hold onto the handgrip
All passengers should wait for the golf cart to completely stop before exiting the vehicle.
Children’s Golf Carts: Should Kids Drive?
Children’s golf carts might seem like safe vehicles for your kids to drive around the park, but the carts slow speed can be deceiving. Young kids can get sustain serious injuries from golf cart accidents. No one under the age of 16 should get behind the wheel of a golf cart.
Ready to buy your own golf cart now that you know these safety tips? Take a look at some of our options.