Worst-Case Wednesday: How to stop a Runaway Golf Cart

Posted by Jade Gilmartin

(image via flickr)

You may think this does not apply to you if you are not a keen golfer, or if you have never driven a cart and don’t intend to, but you never know, one day you may find yourself in the driving seat of a cart which has suddenly become out of control. 

If you are a pedestrian, anywhere where they may be carts around, you may find yourself in the path of a runaway cart which is hurtling towards you. If you do, don’t worry, we can take tips from the Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Golf, and apply this advice to situations both on and off the golf course.

If you are in the cart:

1. Attempt to shut off the cart. If the cart is electric, turn the ignition key to the “off” position. If the cart is gas powered, do not turn the key to the “off” position – leave it in gear.

2. Try to engage the service break. The service, or hill, brake is located on the top half of the brake pedal. Push it forward until it sticks. If it engages, the cart should stop quickly.

3. If the service break fails, wait for the automatic emergency system to stop the cart. If you are still moving there has been a brake failure.

4. If the cart does not stop, attempt to ride it out. You should be able to steer the golf cart even with the key turned off. Stay in the cart and steer onto a gentle incline, which will slow or stop it. Do not jerk the wheel or make any sharp turns. If the car is accelerating downhill or into unsafe terrain and you cannot slow it down, prepare to exit.

5. Jump out of the cart. Do not try to land on your feet. Leap out and away from the path of the cart, rolling on your side to lessen the impact until you are a safe distance. Protect your head with your arms and aim for grass or other forgiving terrain.

If you are not in the cart.

1. Evaluate the situation. If an empty cart is accelerating downhill and you are far behind, you may not be able to reach it. If the cart is headed toward people, a green, or another area where it may cause damage, you may be able to intercept it.

2. Chase the cart and match its speed.

3. Grab the roof or a roof support. If the cart is a model without a roof, grab the back of the seat. Do not reach for the wheel before you are in the cart, or you risk turning the cart into your path and running yourself over.

4. Swing your body into the cart. Do not dive into the cart head first. Pull yourself aboard using your arms. Swing your legs in.

5. Turn the steering wheel gently to obtain control. Do not jerk it.

6. Steer the cart up a rise or into a sand trap. The sand should slow it down eventually and stop it.

Be Aware:

– The industry maximum speed for both electric and gas carts is about 14 miles per hour (Special vehicles can reach speeds of 18 mph.) A runaway golf cart is usually traveling only with momentum, not with electric or gas power, and should not be travelling at more than a few miles per hour, unless it is going down a hill.

– Always set the hill brake when leaving the cart, whether or not you have stopped on a hill.