Golf Cart Safety


Dearest Readers:

Today is June 1, 2019. I admit it, I’ve been negligent about writing on a regular basis in my blog. Recently, actually, if I’m correct, I’ve been negligent since I upgraded to a better service with Word Press. So, now that it is officially summertime, the time of year where we start to be concerned about the weather and hurricanes, I thought I might create a new resolution — a bit late. Oops. So sorry. My resolution is: to write about topics of concern on a regular basis!

My subject today is golf cart safety. We have an amazing number of golf cart drivers in our area of the Old Village, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. Earlier this afternoon, I saw a green golf cart turning onto my road. Would you believe the driver was a child – at the most six or seven years old. He was small for his age. An adult sat in the passenger side. The child was driving!

Since most golf cart drivers fail to give signals, I suspect golf carts do not have signal lights or safety belts! Just how are we, the residents and drivers, to know when a golf cart plans to turn? Good question. I don’t have an answer.

Doing a bit of research, I discovered this site:

http://www.golfcartsafety.com/safety-fundamentals

Listed below are the 16 Fundamentals to Be Safe In a Golf Cart:

“THE FUNDAMENTALS (16 WAYS TO BE SAFE)

  1. Never drive recklessly or joy ride. Drive courteously. Obey all vehicle traffic laws and rules of the road. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  2. Never drive intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or narcotic. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  3. 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. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE! I’ve observed much texting and playing with phones!
  4. Golf carts should be equipped with seat belts for driver and all passengers. The driver and all occupants should utilize available seatbelts anytime the vehicle is in use. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  5. Only carry the number of passengers for which there are seats. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE! Many times children are hanging on the back of the golf cart!
  6. Drivers and all passengers should keep all body parts (arms, legs, feet) inside cart while vehicle is in motion, except when signaling a turn.
  7. Do not allow anyone to ride standing in the vehicle or on the back platform of the vehicle. Do not put vehicle in motion until all passengers are safely seated inside vehicle. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  8. Operate the vehicle from the driver’s side only.
  9. 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. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  10. 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.
  11. Carefully turn and look behind golf cart before backing up.
  12. Avoid sharp turns at maximum speed, and drive straight up and down slopes to reduce the risk of passenger ejections and/or rollover. Avoid excessive speed, sudden starts, stops and fast turns.
  13. Reduce speed due to driving conditions, especially hills or other inclines or declines, blind corners, intersections, pedestrians and inclement weather.
  14. Do not leave keys in golf cart while unattended and make sure the parking brake is set. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE! Let’s just say, several neighbors have had their golf carts stolen.
  15. Always yield to pedestrians and be cognizant of motor vehicles. THE MAJORITY OF GOLF CART DRIVERS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD DO NOT FOLLOW THIS RULE!
  16. 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.”

I’m astonished how many children are driving WITHOUT SUPERVISION in my neighborhood. It’s my observation they believe golf carts are simply adult toys they can plan with, and if they approach a car, they will turn in front of it and laugh, or some of these precious children use finger art to make a point. No respect to other drivers, after all, they are allowed to play on the golf carts!

I confess, I do not have a golf cart. I’ve though about purchasing one, deciding we really do not need one. After all, if we want to drive somewhere, there are two vehicles parked in our driveway.

According to an article in the Post & Courier, October 17, 2018, golf carts are supposed to adhere to the following rules. Maybe Mount Pleasant, SC is exempt? Perhaps not, after all – we are in Charleston County!

“To drive a golf cart in South Carolina, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license
  • Have the cart registered with the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles
  • Have proof of liability insurance
  • Display a state permit decal
  • Only drive during daylight hours
  • Only drive within 4 miles of the address on the registration certificate
  • Only drive on roadways with a speed limit of 35 mph or less
  • Not drive on a bike path.”

Although golf carts are not supposed to be driven at night, I’ve seen many of them driving on the roads at night – without headlights! Also, children, including infants should not be held by the driver, and since there isn’t a place to safely buckle a child they should not be included in the golf cart.

Golf cart safety is really about common sense and SAFETY! While I imagine it might be fun to ride around the neighborhood in a golf cart with your children standing on the rear of the cart, and little children held in the arms of the driver, a little bit of common sense might be utilized.

I would hate to think a child was either seriously injured or killed while riding in a golf cart, or an older child – not a teenager – driving the golf cart! Freak accidents can, and will happen.

Safety first! Let’s protect our children and neighbors, please!

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