Golf carts usually don’t come with any real safety accessories or equipment. That means no seat belts, no headlights, no windshield wipers, and in some cases no windshield at all. And while that’s fine if you only use your cart on golf courses at low speeds, it effectively renders most stock carts unsafe for other typical usages. With that in mind, there are a number of golf cart safety accessories that you might want to look into depending on how you’d like to use your cart. Some options include:
- Safety belts and harnesses
- Turn signals
- Windshield wipers
- Roll bars and cages
If you’re looking for golf cart safety equipment, you’re probably intersted in using your cart off the course. The specific equipment that you’ll need will depend on whether you want to use your cart on private property (like a campground or retirement complex), or on public streets. If you do want to drive your cart on public roads, you’ll need to install some very specific types of safety equipment depending on where you plan on using your cart.
Neighborhood Electric Vehicles and Low Speed Vehicles
While the specifics can vary from one area to another, golf carts that are used on public roadways typically fall into one of two categories: neighborhood electric vehicles (NEVs) and low speed vehicles (LSVs). If your cart is battery-powered, then it’s typically going to be considered an NSV. If it’s gas-powered, then it may fall under the purview of LSV regulations. These two vehicle classifications are similar to one another, and they’re basically designed to allow the use of smaller, more efficient vehicles than are possible under other vehicle regulations.
Since the exact regulations can vary from one location to another, it’s vital to check the actual regulations or laws in your area before you try to convert a golf cart into an NSV or LSV. The NHTSA has NEV and LSV regulations, although both state and local regulations exist in many areas. In some localities, there may even be conflicting information from the state and local governments. However, NEVs and LSVs typically have to meet the following criteria:
- Four wheels
- GVWR less than 3,000 lbs
- Top speed between 20-25mph
In order to operate on public roads, NEVs and LSVs typically need to have:
- Turn Signals
- Brake lights
- Running lights
- Windshield wipers
- Rear view mirrors
Golf Cart Seat Belts
Since golf carts lack crash protection features that are designed into larger passenger vehicles, seat belts are the primary safety devices in NEVs and LSVs. Depending on the legislation in your area, you may be able to install either a two- or three-point belt. Also known as lap belts, two-point seat belts provide a bare minimum of protection in the event of an accident. They also tend to be less expensive and easier to install since some golf carts aren’t really designed for shoulder belts.
Three=point seat belts are required in some areas, and they are the safer option regardless. These are also known as shoulder belts since they include straps that cross both your lap and chest and terminate over your shoulder. Due to safety regulations, all modern cars and trucks come with shoulder belts.