Hey guys! Well, summer is officially here and it’s gonna be hot! There are so many things to do in Baldwin County—the beaches, fishing, swimming, boating and just good ole fashioned playing outside until its dark. One thing that is becoming more and more popular are golf carts on the road. Today we are going to talk about the different types of carts, some common sense rules for the road, and some potential safety hazards for you and your children.
In 2016, Baldwin County voters decided to allow more freedom in the usage of golf carts on city streets and left the enforcement of type and how to each municipality. So, let’s talk about the different types. Of course, there are your old fashioned regular golf carts with golf cart bag holders in the very back. These typically do not go very fast and usually do not have seat belts, blinkers, rear view mirrors, or any other safety measures. Next, there are a lot of modified golf carts from the original types. Most of these have bigger tires, four to eight seats, seat belts and maybe some rear view mirrors. Then, then are electric carts that have VIN numbers and tags with all safety measures you would have as if you were driving an actual car. Some are four seaters and can go 20-25 mph and some have very sturdy frames and can go up to 40 mph!
Regardless of the style of cart someone has, there is one unifying theme. In a motor vehicle collision, the car, truck or SUV will always win and therefore the passengers in a golf cart are at risk! So what can you do? First, any golf cart should be driven by someone who has a driver’s license. Yes, it’s fun for the kids to cruise around the neighborhood, but you know as well as I do that kids can be dumb. They do not look out for other drivers, rarely buckle up, and do not follow the rules of the road. I have personally seen golf carts driving around the Eastern Shore loaded down with kids (most of whom are not buckled up) and flying down the road. Unfortunately, golf carts can flip easily. If you have one with a lot of kids loaded up and turn quickly, it will flip.
Next, check with your local police for what safety measures your golf cart needs and where it is safe to drive. Most of the common measures are seat belts, blinkers, rear view mirrors, brake lights, windshield wipers, reflectors, parking brakes, and oftentimes a VIN number with tag. Depending on the style of cart you have, most will also need to have a minimum threshold speed of 20 mph with a max of 25 mph. This is to ensure that if you are driving on a city street you do not impede traffic by going to slow and also that you don’t go too fast as to endanger yourself or others.
Finally, let’s talk about things that can hurt you or your child. First, unless your cart is made to drive above 25 mph, then do not go on a road with a speed limit of more than 35 mph. And please stay off the four lane! I’ve seen golf carts driving down and crossing Greeno Rd. Not only is it dangerous, but you will get a ticket in a heartbeat. Use common sense. Buckle up, use your blinkers or your arms to signal turns, check your blind spots and no sharp turns. Of course, we worry about our kids, but I’ve seen adults acting dangerously on golf carts as well, so be a good example to your family. Have a great summer! Wear sunscreen, use bug spray and be safe!