As golf carts and personal transport vehicles (PTV), become increasingly popular with consumers on and off the course, it’s important to keep safety in mind when driving and riding in them, says the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI). OPEI is an international trade association representing manufacturers and suppliers of outdoor power equipment, small engines, battery power systems, portable generators, utility and personal transport vehicles, and golf carts.
“The rules are pretty simple,” says Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI. “Golf carts and PTVs are not toys. Read the owner’s manual to understand the vehicle’s features and operation. Don’t drink and drive. Obey manufacturer recommendations for operating age and designated number of passengers. Follow the rules of the road, and only drive PTVs where permitted by law.”
Whether getting around the golf course or cruising a community, Kiser says you should operate your golf cart or PTV safely, understand their unique driving dynamics and obey all applicable laws. He adds, “Understand that golf carts and personal transport vehicles may look alike, but these vehicles are designed to separate standards to assure safety and performance.”
OPEI offers seven important safety tips when they get behind the wheel of golf carts and PTVs:
1. Familiarize yourself with operating procedures.
Review owner’s manuals and always follow manufacturer’s operating instructions. Use all of the safety equipment that is installed on the vehicle.
2. If modifying your golf cart or PTV, use only manufacturer-approved parts
Or parts that have been tested and comply with industry standards. Modifications to a golf cart or PTV can impact safety and stability. When modifying golf carts or PTVs, any parts used should conform to standards OPEI/ILTVA Z130 and Z130.
3. Load the vehicle correctly.
Obey the manufacturer’s warnings for maximum number of occupants. Do not try to squeeze in extra passengers or allow anyone to ride standing in the vehicle or on the back platform, including caddies. Do not operate the vehicle until all occupants are fully seated.
4. Drive safely and obey all local laws.
Reduce speed and use caution when operating vehicles on grades, slippery or loose terrain and when turning. Only operate vehicles on designated roadways or property where permitted.
5. Avoid distractions.
Be attentive to traffic and hazards while driving. Do not text and drive.
6. Stay sober and alert.
Do not drive a golf cart or PTV if intoxicated or under the influence of a drug or narcotic.
7. Take shelter during inclement weather.
Although a golf cart may shield occupants from the rain, it may not protect them from a lightning strike. Find safe shelter immediately if you see lightning or hear thunder.