Are Golf Carts Dangerous from Tell Me More Golf Coaches with Professional Advice
Are Golf Carts Dangerous from Tell Me More Golf Coaches with Professional Advice

If you’ve played golf, you’ve probably seen somebody driving a golf cart. At the very least, you’ll see golf carts parked near the clubhouse or the pro shop. 

Golf carts are very popular, primarily because they make the experience of playing a round less tiring.

The question is are golf carts dangerous? You might not think so, though researchers in 2020 found that lots of people end up being treated in the emergency room for golf cart-related injuries

So, we here at Tell Me More Golf take a look to see if golf carts are in fact dangerous or not. 


Are Golf Carts Safe or Dangerous? 

Golf carts can be dangerous. Why is this? For starters, most golf carts are open vehicles, which means that they do not have doors or windows. This means that it doesn’t take much for somebody to fall out of a golf cart whilst on the move. 

It is therefore very easy for a person to injure themselves in a golf cart. Injuries tend to occur when a player is thrown from the cart, which isn’t as uncommon as you might think. Many golf courses tend to be uneven, with lots of lumps and bumps in the terrain, so it’s easy for the cart to rapidly jolt one way or the other, meaning that players can easily be thrown from the cart. 

Typical injuries that occur as a result of golf cart-related incidents include broken bones, fractures, neck, and spinal injuries, as well as head injuries, such as concussion.  

There are lots of golf cart-related injuries in the US. In fact, the study mentioned above found that between 2007 and 2017, 154,608 were injured thanks to golf carts

Another 2020 study, undertaken by the Transportation Research Board, found that there are more than 18,000 golf cart-related injuries per year in Florida alone. 

So, does this mean that golf carts are not safe? This is a tricky question, because it’s not as if anybody who gets in a golf cart is destined for serious injury. Many people use golf carts all the time without issue, so it is possible to avoid dangerous situations, but it’s impossible to deny the fact that golf carts could be considerably safer. 

It’s not difficult to see that golf carts aren’t designed with safety in mind. They lack seat belts and doors, while there generally aren’t any mirrors either. 

Due to the way that they’re built and their lack of safety features, they offer little protection. As a result, it is easy for things to go wrong, which is perhaps why there have been so many golf-cart related injuries over the years. 

Simple Golf Cart Safety Rules 

Here are some safety tips that can help make your golf-cart experience as safe as possible: 

  1. Always pay attention to what’s ahead. 
  2. Drive at a steady speed. 
  3. If you’re the golf cart driver, ask the passenger to keep an eye on the surroundings, and vice-versa. 
  4. Remain sitting and stay completely inside of the golf cart at all times whilst it is moving. 
  5. Make sure that your golf equipment is securely fastened at the back of the cart.


Number of Golf Cart Injuries per Year

The exact number of deaths as a direct result of golf cart-related incidents is unknown, though given that the above research showed that well over 150,000 golf cart injuries occurred in the US over a 10-year period, it’s not difficult to envisage fatalities. 

Fortunately, golf and death don’t really go hand in hand, but that does not mean that there are no deaths as a result of golf cart incidents.

In November of 2022, there were worldwide newspaper reports after a 29-year-old woman was killed after the golf cart that she was traveling in, driven by her husband, crashed. The cart tipped and the woman’s injuries were so severe that she died at the scene. 


Do Golf Carts Flip Easily or are They Stable? 

You’d think that golf carts would be relatively stable, but unfortunately, due to their design, they’re not the safest of vehicles. 

Sure, plenty of golfers use golf carts without getting hurt, but because they’re not the most sturdy or foolproof, it doesn’t take much to flip a golf cart, while lesser accidents are common too, so it’s important to be careful. 

Why do Golf Carts Flip? 

The way that most golf carts are set up means that they have brakes only at the rear. This means that they’re not the most stable, especially when driving down hills or across uneven land, which lets face it, is common on many golf courses. 

Golfers should proceed with lots of caution when driving golf carts on hills, especially going downwards. It’s very easy to lose control, which causes the golf cart to tilt or even flip over, which can lead to not just minor pain but severe injuries. 

How to Avoid Flipping in a Golf Cart 

Following on from the rules for safety above, and in the interest of extra safety and injury prevention, there are a few things you should avoid doing when using a golf cart. These are: 

  1. Avoid driving aggressively; do not make sharp turns and do not attempt to go over bumps or uneven ground quickly. 
  2. Do not lean your body outside of the golf cart whilst it is moving, this could cause the cart to flip over due to an uneven weight spread. 
  3. Do not speed up going around corners or take them quickly. Ensure to take corners at a reasonable speed. 
  4. Do not overload your golf cart with more than the maximum number of passengers, which in most cases is two. 
  5. Do not overload the golf cart with too much equipment, such as bags. 

What Happens if the Golf Cart Flips Over? 

If your golf cart does flip over, it is likely to be damaged, perhaps considerably. If you own the golf cart, this is going to cost you a considerable amount in repairs or in replacing the golf cart. 

For the most part, golf carts belong to the golf course and are rented by players. If you damage a golf cart as a renter, you’re going to be responsible for the repair costs. 

More importantly, a golf cart tipping is likely to cause injury to anybody that’s traveling in the cart. As touched on above, some golf cart injuries are serious, while some are even fatal. 

What to do if Your Golf Cart Flips

If your golf cart flips, or if you’re involved in any sort of golf cart accident, you should be aware of what you need to do. 

In the event of an accident, whether the cart flips or not, if you’re alone and are able to, contact the authorities. This will ensure that you get the medical attention required. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve been hurt, it’s a good idea to get checked over. 

If you know that you are injured following a golf-cart accident, try to alert a nearby player, who can alert both the golf cart attendant, course management and the authorities, allowing you to get the attention required. 

If another person was riding in the cart, if you’re able to, check to see if they’re OK before carrying out the above measures. 


Do Golf Carts Have Seat Belts? 

In general, golf carts do not have seatbelts. Given that a golf cart is essentially a motor vehicle, you would expect seat belts, but most carts feature seating that is not protected by a seat belt. 

The fact that golf carts typically do not feature seat belts means that it’s easy for people to fall out. If you’re traveling over a bump, downhill, or even when the cart changes direction, if you’re not vigilant and paying attention, it’s very easy to fall out of a golf cart, which can cause injury, perhaps even serious or fatal injury. 

Due to the lack of seatbelts in most golf carts, you should always drive responsibly. Don’t change direction suddenly, avoid going over dangerous terrain, and don’t drive too fast. As a passenger, you should hold on to something. 

However, some golf carts are classed as low-speed vehicles because they’re capable of traveling between 20 and 25 miles per hour. Golf carts that are classed as low-speed vehicles are required by law to have seat belts installed for every seating position. – Frequently Asked Questions

How many golf cart deaths are there per year? 

It is not known how many deaths can be attributed to golf cart incidents per year, though the Consumer Products Safety Commission says that in the US alone, approximately 15,000 people with golf cart injuries are treated in the emergency room every year. 

Are golf carts more dangerous than cars?  

Potentially. Golf carts offer passengers very little protection. Therefore, even minor incidents can cause severe injuries, which means that golf carts could be classed as more dangerous than cars. 

People who sustain minor injuries in car incidents could quite easily sustain serious or even fatal injuries from a golf-cart incident of a similar level.


Patrick Corley

From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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