As the weather in South Carolina warms up, beaches like Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach, and Mount Pleasant become prime areas to drive golf carts. The ability to easily maneuver through both vehicle and foot traffic, as well as park in small spaces, are attractive benefits of using golf carts as an alternative to full size vehicles. While golf carts are an excellent option for getting around beachside areas, there are several laws and safety rules you need to be aware of before you get started.
While you might be tempted to think driving a golf cart is a piece of cake and throw caution to the wind, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), over 10,000 emergency room visits per year are attributed to golf cart accidents. It's imperative that you're careful when driving your golf cart.
Beachside golf cart laws
First, South Carolina residents that own golf carts must have them registered and insured for liability in order to operate them. This law is designed to protect both you and any other individuals involved in the event an accident does occur.
Any individual operating the golf cart must be 16 years of age and have a valid driver's license. Keep in mind that carts can be driven on streets where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or under if the street in question is within 4 miles of the registration address.
Additionally, golf carts can only be operated during daylight hours unless they have working headlights.
Never drive a golf cart while intoxicated. Just like with a regular vehicle, it is illegal to drink and drive on a golf cart. if you drink and drive on a golf cart, you can be charged with a DUI. Not only are you posing a risk to yourself by driving under the influence, you are endangering everyone around you.
While some of these laws might seem unnecessary, remember they are intended to keep people safe and reduce the number fatalities and injuries that occur because of reckless golf cart operation.
Beachside golf cart safety precautions
We mentioned earlier that there are approximately 10,000 emergency room visits per year due to golf cart mishaps. Almost half of those visits are because someone was thrown from a moving cart during a sharp turn or sudden stop.
Research shows that speeds as low as 11 miles per hour are still fast enough to cause someone to fall from a golf cart during a sharp turn, so approach turns with caution.
Also, be aware of where you are driving. It is illegal to drive a golf cart on a sidewalk in South Carolina unless the sidewalk is specifically marked for golf cart use. You'll also want to be aware of who is near you and make sure they are aware of you. Honk your horn if necessary to help people avoid mistakenly crossing your path.
Following these laws and safety precautions will help you and the people around you stay safe as you enjoy operating your golf cart during your South Carolina beach vacation! If you need more information on golf cart safety rules, or you'd like to join in on the fun by purchasing or renting a golf cart, contact us today! We'd love to help you out.