Golf carts are small vehicles that are often used for transportation around golf courses, retirement communities, campuses, and other locales with low speed limits. While golf carts typically have maximum speeds of around 15-20 mph, speeding in a golf cart can still lead to serious accidents and injuries. Exceeding the recommended speed limit reduces reaction times and makes it harder to control the vehicle.

How Common are Golf Cart Accidents?

Golf cart accidents are relatively common, especially in areas where golf carts are widely used as low-speed vehicles.

  • The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates there are over 15,000 golf cart-related injuries treated in emergency rooms each year.
  • Golf cart accidents account for up to 15% of personal injury claims at golf courses in the US.
  • The majority of golf cart accidents occur on golf courses. However, a growing number take place on public roads in retirement communities and vacation spots.
  • Rollovers are one of the most severe types of golf cart crashes.
  • Head injuries are very common in golf cart crashes since occupants are often ejected and rarely wear helmets compared to drivers.
  • Alcohol use is involved in many golf cart crashes, especially among rented carts driven on vacation courses. Impaired driving drastically increases accident risk.
  • Speeding, overloaded carts, steep hills, and collisions with fixed objects like trees, poles, and buildings contribute to many crashes.

While golf carts are associated with leisure, they can pose real risks that call for safe practices and policies around their operation. Being attentive and following basic safety guidelines can help reduce common golf cart accidents.

Common consequences of speeding in a golf cart include:

  • Loss of control – Going too fast can cause the cart to fishtail or tip over when turning or braking. This lack of stability increases the chance of collisions and rollovers.
  • Limited braking ability – Golf carts have relatively poor brakes compared to cars. Trying to stop suddenly from high speeds leads to skidding and longer stopping distances.
  • Ejection – The open design and lack of seatbelts means occupants can easily be thrown from the cart in a crash, especially at high velocities.
  • Collisions – Other vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists, and objects on the roadway all become more dangerous when struck at excessive speeds. Higher kinetic energy leads to greater impact forces.

To prevent speed-related golf cart crashes, drivers should obey posted speed limits, reduce speed around turns and pedestrians, and avoid sudden acceleration or braking. Passengers can also remind drivers to slow down if necessary. Technical solutions like speed governors may help limit top speeds.

Driver Distraction in Golf Cart Accidents

Driver distraction is another major factor in many golf cart accidents. Golf cart drivers can be distracted by mobile devices, passengers, scenery, and any number of other activities that take their attention away from driving. Common forms of driver distraction include:

  • Texting or talking on cell phones
  • Eating, drinking, or smoking while driving
  • Interacting with passengers or pets in the cart
  • Looking at the scenery instead of the path ahead
  • Reading maps or operating navigation devices
  • Adjusting music players or other electronics

Any activity that takes the driver’s eyes off the road or hands off the steering wheel can potentially lead to an accident. Distracted golf cart drivers may wander out of their lane, fail to stop, or collide with unexpected obstacles. Passengers should avoid unnecessary conversation and drivers should remain focused while operating the cart.

Common Negligent Driving Errors

Beyond speeding and distraction, there are other negligent driving errors that frequently contribute to golf cart mishaps. These mistakes include:

  • Failure to yield – Collisions often occur at intersections or pedestrian crossings when cart drivers fail to properly yield the right-of-way.
  • Improper turns – Wide, sharp, or misjudged turns can lead to loss of control or collisions with oncoming traffic.
  • Following too closely – Tailgating other carts or vehicles reduces response time in the event of sudden braking.
  • Inattention – Failing to properly scan the driving environment for people, objects, other vehicles, and conditions that require caution or avoidance.
  • Impaired driving – Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs (prescription or recreational), drowsiness, or other impairment severely affects driver judgment and reaction time.
  • Overcrowding – Overloading a golf cart beyond the number of passengers it is designed to hold can make the vehicle unstable and prone to tipping over.

Golf cart drivers need to remain vigilant, cautious, and focused on safe driving at all times. Following basic rules of the road tailored for golf cart operation can help reduce accidents and risks, but if the worst does happen, you need to talk to one of our experienced personal injury lawyers. Visit our offices at the following locations:

  • Tampa – 2504 W Crest Ave, Tampa, FL 33614
  • Petersburg – 520 2nd Ave South, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
  • New Port Richey – 5703 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652
  • Brooksville – 1790 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601
  • Seminole – 5290 Seminole Blvd. Suite D, St. Petersburg, FL 33708

Call now for a free consultation on (800) 800-4300.