10 Safety Tips That Will Save Your Life When Go Karting

Go karts are fun vehicles and can provide hours upon hours of exciting energy filled afternoons, but these afternoons can end tragically and put the go kart on the black list for the rest of your life.  Don’t make this one of your legacies.

There are 10 Tips that will save your life if you follow these basic guide lines.

Leading Tragic Injuries:

A high percentage of go kart injuries involve head trauma.  The next is neck trauma.  Head trauma usually occurs when the go kart flips, or when the go kart is driven through areas where low branches.  But the highest percentages of go kart injuries occur because of poor driving practices.  Here are some examples of go kart accidents:

– Drove in front moving of a truck (death)
– Flipped go kart after going over jump (head trauma)
– Rammed into side of car (death)
– Rammed into chain link fence (internal bleeding injuries)
– Flipped go kart doing high speed maneuvers (3rd Degree Burns)
– Hit Tree (Death)

For the most part these injuries and deaths could have been avoided with safe go kart driving practices.  In each one of these cases the injuries were very high involving full body trauma as well as head injury.

What Can We Do To Be Safer And Save Lives?

Tip # 1: Wear a Helmet

A helmet is a safe measure that primarily protects the head from flying objects such as branches and rocks.  The secondary protective effects are those when the go kart flips and the head is flung about especially in a roll caged vehicle.

Tip # 2a: No Loose Clothing

The second most catastrophic injuries occurred when clothing gets caught in spinning machinery.  Case in point: a young girl was just recently strangled when the scarf she was wearing got caught in the engine.  The injury all together could have been avoided by following the rule of no loose clothing.

Tip #2b: No Long Hair

Girls in particular fall prey to spinning shafts, especially wheels and axles that are just waiting to grab.  Any long hair, should be tucked away and tied up under a helmet.  No loose hair should stick out of the helmet, because it can still get grabbed by spinning elements.

Tip #3: Put Guards on Spinning Shafts

Guards should cover any spinning shafts, belts, chains, clutches, axles etc.  The guards serve as a protection from accidental entanglement.

Tip #4:  No Riders On Your Lap

Many sad amusement park deaths have occurred because a young rider was sitting between the driver and the steering wheel.  Though safe in cornering, because the young rider will not fly out, it is very dangerous and fatal when the go kart hits another in a minor rear end collision.

The young driver is crushed between the body of the adult and the steering wheel.  Never ride with a rider between the steering wheel and the driver.  Get a go kart that seats two people, don’t compromise.

Tip # 5: Have a Roll Cage When Roll Overs Are High Risk

A roll cage is a protective measure against roll overs.  However, it does not preclude safe driving habits.  Often, the driver will assume because the safety equipment is in hand that safe driving is optional.  This is when the injuries most often occur. Taking a corner too fast, or going over jumps is just unsafe and reckless.

Tip #6: Seat Belts: Know When To Use Them

A roll cage is only so safe.  A helmet must be worn to protect against head injury especially in a roll over.  The roll cage acts to protect against roll overs, but it often can become a barrier where the occupant collides with the cage.  The helmet in combination with a seat belt helps protect the occupant from flying about and getting injured.

Seat belts keep the occupant from flying out of the go kart when an impact occurs.  However, a flat style go kart with no roll cage and seat belt can be a danger in that the occupant can get pinned and rolled upon as the go kart rolls.  A non seat belted driver is cut loose of the go kart as it continues.  However, and this is a big however, a helmet, a ribtech vest and heavy clothing must be worn.  The helmet will protect the head during the roll over, the ribtech vest will protect the chest from internal injury as the occupant flies forward and hits the steering wheel, and the heavy clothing will protect from abrasive injury as the occupant is thrown clear of the vehicle.

It is not just helmets that protect, it is the other equipment too: ribtech vest, and heavy clothing.

Tip # 7: Check Equipment

Occasionally an accident will occur because of faulty equipment.  In the case of a roll over for example the greatest danger is not the rolling over, but the spilling gasoline.  Proper gas tanks and gas caps need to be installed on the go kart engines, in case of roll over.  Gas spillage is a very real danger and can be easily ignited on the hot muffler.  Several tragic accidents have occurred because of leaking gas tanks in roll over situations.  This danger is multiplied when the occupant is seat belted in and hanging upside down.

The use of heavy clothing acts as an abrasive shield as well as a thermal shield. It is never wise to ride a go kart in shorts because of the risk of abrasive and burn injury.

The equipment dangers most often occur in flat tires, faulty brakes, faulty steering.  Additionally, chains breaking can fly off at high speed and can cause injury, especially if not shielded.

Proper go kart maintenance should be performed before each and every ride.  The brakes, the steering linkages, the tire pressure and so on must be checked.  Make sure the go kart is not ready to fail.  Typically, failures are predictable and are due to worn out parts, such as fraying belts, sloppy chains, excessive brake play, loose steering and so forth.

Tip #8: Good Driving Habits

Every driver must be tested and know how to drive a go kart properly.  Most young drivers do not understand how fast and how dangerous go karts can be.  A sudden move in just one direction and they will plow into a fence, tree, car, or hedge.  The go kart must be detuned for young drivers.  The governor must be in good working order so that you can turn the engine speed down.

The driver must exhibit responsible behavior and be banned from driving when erratic and dangerous driving is perceived.   Each driver must have gone through some sort of driving course.

Tip #9: Proper Driving Areas

Driving areas really should be at the top of the list, because most of the tragic deaths occur because of poor driving area selection.  Typically a go kart will enter a busy roadway, or collide with a parked car, while others will slam into fences.  A clear unobstructed driving area is a must.  By standers should be clear of the driving area, because they actually are at the greatest risk for injury while the go kart is in motion.

Remember that driving a go kart on the street is illegal; driving it even in parking lots is illegal too.  Clear unobstructed areas on private property are the only legal areas to drive go karts.

Go karts should be driven solitarily, not in groups.  The risk for accident is very high.  The worst kinds of injuries and situations can result such as the following:

Side impact hits
Sudden Flipping (tire on tire contact)
Whiplash (rear end hitting)
Head On Collision
Burns (Contact with hot engines)
Entanglement (rear axle graps shirt, hair during pile up)

These are but a few.  If you are serious about racing go karts then a track with the specific safety equipment is where you should be go karting.  Go karting solitarily is a must.

Tip #10: Always Have Adult Supervision

Young riders typically are 60% of the accident victims on go karts and most of these accidents occur because of lack of adult supervision.

Adult supervision provides a measure of responsibility and respect for the equipment.  The adult supervision entails limited ride time, where to ride, when to ride and how to ride oversight.

As an overseer, be sure to stop the go kart when you think danger is anywhere near.  Always use safety as your rule of thumb.  Stop the whole works, mover bystanders, what ever it may be, but safety is preeminent before any go kart is driven further.

When followed these ten tips will help save lives.  Go karting is a fun sport, but like all things fun they have an element of risk and danger.  Proper use of the vehicle will preclude any injuries.  These tens tips are by no means exhaustive, however, they do hit about 90% of the potential go kart dangers.

So to recap they are:

1. Helmet
2. No Loose Clothing; No Long Hair
3. Guards on Spinning Shafts
4. No Riders On Your Lap
5. Roll Cage
6. Seat Belts
7. Check Equipment (tires, linkages, brakes, gas spillage)
8. Driving Habits
9. Driving Areas
10. Adult Supervision

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One Comment

  1. Locked up drive line usually means a chain has jumped.

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