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How Common Are Golf Cart Accidents?
Golf cart accidents can be hazardous for both children and adult passengers. Injuries like brain trauma, lacerations, or fractured limbs may result in emergency room visits or hospital trips. While golf cart accidents are common, there are many ways to prevent accidents and reduce the chance of injury.
How Common Are Golf Cart Accidents?
Golf cart accidents can cause considerable injuries and deaths to passengers and drivers of all ages. Both children and older adults are at risk when driving or riding in a golf cart. A study from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), from 2007 to 2017, over 150,000 injuries and emergency room visits related to golf cart accidents. The number of yearly injuries related to golf carts has also remained relatively unchanged over the years.
Golf cart injuries among children often result in traumatic brain injuries, with 1.6 per 100,000 kids experiencing severe head damage. The rate of brain injuries among children is almost three times the rate of adults and 46% greater than older adults. Regarding general injuries and accidents, the study found that the rate of injuries increased by about 67% from 2007 to 2017.
Why Are Golf Cart Accidents So Common?
Unlike cars, golf carts lack many safety features that prevent serious injuries, such as doors, mirrors, lights, and safety belts. Despite the many studies revealing the dangers of golf carts, little has been done to change the cart’s design, add safety features, or promote new legislation to reduce the likelihood of accidents.
Because of the lack of safety features, many accidents result in severe lacerations to the head or body, strained muscles, fractured bones, or head injuries. While not all of these accidents are fatal, many can be.
Who Is Most Likely to Be Injured in a Golf Cart Accident?
Children are most likely to be injured in a golf cart accident. The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia investigated this phenomenon, studying golf cart injuries in kids and teenagers. They found that related injuries had increased to more than 6,500 cases each year and over half of the injuries were found in children younger than 12.
Another study analyzing the NEISS database observed various injuries across different genders, types of injuries, locations, severities, and the event leading up to the damage. Over 10 years, researchers calculated more than 63,000 injuries in children and teenagers, with the number increasing every year that the study continued.
Because golf carts have become so popular in recent years and state regulations vary depending on local laws, many children are still allowed to operate golf carts and find themselves in accidents. Even children riding in carts can be thrown out or severely injured.
It is now no secret that children are most at risk and the NEISS study found that over 8% of the injuries occurred in children ages zero to 10. With boys receiving more injuries, many kids found themselves with superficial scratches, though severe head and neck injuries were also likely to occur. By understanding that children are most at risk, golf cart owners and riders alike can work to make the carts safer for both kids and adults.
Why Golf Carts Can Be Dangerous
As stated before, golf carts lack many safety features commonly found in cars and other vehicles. But what makes them so dangerous to the driver or passengers? The short answer is the weight.
Many golf cart models can hold a few passengers or up to several thousand pounds, which is about the same weight as a small passenger car can carry. However, this weight can quickly become dangerous with the lack of safety seatbelts or doors. If a golf cart exceeds a speed of 15 miles per hour, serious injury can occur on impact with an object or if a person is thrown from the cart. It is also typical for the cart to tip or roll over, which can cause severe injuries like crushed or caught limbs.
12 Common Uses of Golf Carts
While many expect golf carts only to be used for golf courses, they have many other uses. Here are 12 of the most common uses for golf carts you might not have known.
1. Personal Transportation
Perhaps the most common use of golf carts is personal transportation. If you plan to drive your cart on the street, it must be street-legal first, but golf carts are handy when going for groceries or grabbing coffee at your favorite cafe. A street-legal golf cart includes brake lights, seatbelts, and indicators, letting you cruise neighborhoods that allow golf carts in their area.
2. College Campuses
On college campuses, golf carts may make it easier for staff to quickly get from one campus area to another without disruption. Some even customize their golf carts to match their school’s colors, logos, or mascots.
3. Farming and Gardening
Golf carts can help farmers get around their property quickly. Some gardeners or farmers also modify their vehicles to help carry large bags of soil, chicken feed, plants, or tools. Many appreciate the golf cart’s affordability and low maintenance compared to other vehicles like tractors or trucks.
4. Off-Roading and Camping
Many campgrounds extend over large grounds, and golf carts can assist campers when traveling across off-road sites or dirt paths. Beyond campgrounds, those who enjoy off-roading can make better use of a vehicle that drives along smaller paths and trails easily.
5. Disability Transport
For hospitals, veteran hospitals, or retirement homes that require the transportation of people of all abilities, golf carts can help people travel with ease. In senior homes, older individuals may require extra assistance moving around the area or traveling to different activities, and golf carts are an easier form of transportation.
6. Airport Transport
Airports often span large areas that are difficult to navigate on foot. Using golf carts can help maintenance personnel, security staff, and individuals who need mobility assistance travel across different areas of the airport without disturbing other pedestrians.
7. Entertainment Venue Transport
Stadiums and concert venues require employees and artists to travel across different areas to perform or work at different venues. Golf carts are an easy and cheap way to transport people across locations and protect artists and their security from other concertgoers.
8. Police and Security
Many police and security personnel around the world use golf carts to travel around different neighborhoods, conduct check-ins, and patrol the streets.
Wherever maintenance personnel is required, the owner of a golf cart can use these vehicles to transport themselves over large areas like airports, campuses, and wedding venues.
10. Wedding Venues
Members of a wedding party may not want to walk around too much if the event is an outside wedding. The bride and groom may want to protect their dress, suit, and other clothing items as well. For the managing staff or other employees at the venue, using a golf cart for transportation may also be helpful.
11. Snow Plows
Outfitting a golf cart with a snow plow may make it easier to plow sidewalks without having to break out the shovel. For residential areas or private properties, this may be a cheaper option than hiring a snow plow on a truck or a larger vehicle.
12. Hunting and Fishing
While many people like to use ATVs for hunting or fishing trips, these kinds of vehicles are also gas-powered and require more maintenance than a golf cart. Some golf carts are electric and require less upkeep and no gas. They are also quiet and completely capable of traveling along different paths and trails. Some choose to outfit their golf carts with upgraded suspension, push bars, lift kits, terrain tires, gun racks, improved lighting, and even coolers.
Common Causes of Golf Cart Accidents
While there are many causes of golf cart accidents, many of them are attributed to a lack of attention to the road or lack of safety features present in the design. Here are some of the most common causes of golf cart accidents:
Lack of Seatbelts
Due to the lack of seatbelts in golf carts, any sharp turns or reckless driving could cause people to be thrown out of the cart or result in an accident. While the driver may be able to brace themselves with the steering wheel, passengers are often left without a brace and may be in danger of crushing a limb or fracturing a bone.
Hanging hands or feet outside of the cart may result in fingers or feet getting caught in passing objects. Remain inside the cart at all times to prevent these kinds of injuries.
Driving on uneven, wet, muddy, or sloped terrain can be dangerous for golf cart drivers and passengers. Try to slow down when driving on hills, around corners, over bumps, or near public roads to avoid any slips or slides. It is best practice to avoid sharp turns and unsuitable terrain altogether to reduce the chance of injury.
Driving Under the Influence
One of the most dangerous practices is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This increases your chance of being caught in a collision or accident and may result in severe injuries or fatalities.
Without paying attention to the road at all times, golf cart drivers risk the lives of their passengers and themselves. Try to follow the rules of the road at all times and pay attention to pedestrians on the streets and sidewalks. Drive defensively and stay aware of your surroundings without letting people inside or outside the cart distract you.
15 Safety Tips for Using Golf Carts
Now that you’re familiar with the various ways that golf carts can cause injuries, it may be a good idea to understand the safety tips for using golf carts. Here are 15 safety tips to reduce the chance of an accident or injury:
- Inspect the vehicle: Before driving, inspect the vehicle to be sure it is safe to drive. Check the tire pressure, brakes, front and back lights, and steering capabilities.
- Do not operate damaged golf carts: Damaged carts could cause an accident or result in the cart tipping or rolling over.
- Never drive over the speed limit: Many golf carts have speed limits. Those speed limits should be adhered to at all times.
- Observe traffic laws: Makes sure you stay on your side of the road and follow all traffic laws. Signal your turns to other cars on the road and pay attention to red lights and stop signs.
- Watch hands and feet: Keep your hands and feet inside the golf cart at all times.
- Avoid sidewalks: Driving on the sidewalks can put other passengers and pedestrians in danger.
- Drive slowly: Many golf carts require you to drive slower than normal vehicles. Make sure you adhere to all speed limits at all times.
- Use safety mirrors: Check the safety mirrors as often as you would in a normal car.
- Follow weight restrictions: Do not overload the vehicle with extra passengers as that could cause a flat tire or other accidents.
- Use seatbelts: If the golf cart includes seatbelts, wear them at all times to reduce the chance of injury.
- Remain seated: Do not stand up in the golf cart or you could risk being thrown out of the cart. Remain seated to reduce the chance of a toppled golf cart.
- Avoid distractions: Drive responsibly and avoid any distractions from inside and outside the vehicle.
- Use the brake: When parking the golf cart, use the parking break to ensure the cart doesn’t roll away.
- Don’t leave the cart alone: Never leave the cart alone when the golf cart is still running. It is very easy for someone else to walk up and take the cart away.
- Avoid bad weather: Because golf carts don’t have many safety features or any doors, avoid driving them in bad weather.
One of the best ways to protect yourself against the repercussions of golf cart accidents is to invest in liability insurance. If an accident occurs, one of the injured parties could sue, ask for legal judgment or make a settlement claim. Without liability insurance for golf cart owners, a person could end up spending thousands or millions of dollars in damage.
An all-in-one golf cart insurance bundle can help you pay for hospital expenses, injuries, property damage, and cart damage up to your policy’s limit. Even if you acquire legal fees or go to court, liability insurance can help assist you through the process by covering those expenses.
As the owner of the golf cart, investing in insurance is practical and will save you money in the long run. By making sure that any damage to you or your golf cart is covered, you can deal with body damage, property damage liability, collision, or other liability concerns.
Contact XINSURANCE for a Golf Cart Insurance Quote
At XINSURANCE, our customers can find customized golf cart liability insurance coverage for employers, businesses, and homeowners. With a team of over 40 years of experience, we assist you with coverage, deductibles, premiums, and limits that fit your needs.
XINSURANCE can help you whether you’ve been previously denied coverage, have canceled your current coverage, or are looking for new insurance. If you need help, have questions, or want us to review your current policy, contact us or have your insurance agent contact us at 877-585-2853.
Authored by Rick J. Lindsey, President, Chairman, and CEO of XINSURANCE
Rick J. Lindsey hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. He began working in the mailroom of his father’s Salt Lake City insurance firm, getting his introduction to the business that became his lifelong career. Rick J. Lindsey quickly rose through the ranks while working in nearly every imaginable insurance industry job. As an entrepreneur, specialty lines underwriter, claims specialist, risk manager, and a licensed surplus lines broker, Rick J. Lindsey is highly skilled in all levels of leadership and execution. As he progressed on his career path, Rick J. Lindsey discovered an urgent need for insurers willing to write policies for high-risk individuals and businesses. He was frequently frustrated that he could not provide the liability protection these entities desperately needed to safeguard their assets. He also formed the belief that insurance companies acted too quickly to settle frivolous claims. Rick J. Lindsey decided to try a different approach. He started an insurance company and became the newly formed entity’s CEO. This opportunity has enabled Rick J. Lindsey to fill a void in the market and provide a valuable service to businesses, individuals, and insurance agents who write high-risk business. XINSURANCE also specializes in helping individuals and businesses who live a lifestyle or participate in activities that make them difficult for traditional carriers to insure. If you’ve been denied, non-renewed, or canceled coverage, don’t give up quite yet. Chances are XINSURANCE can help.