Did you ever travel with a golf cart on the side of the road? You must be very surprised to hear this and you have been wondering since when is it legal to drive on the road, right? Honestly to tell, golf carts are not legal yet. But it doesn’t mean that you miss an awesome experience of driving it. So what’s the way now? Very simple, with some changes and upgrades you can drive the golf cart on the side of the road.
There are mainly 4 types of golf cart:
- Golf Push carts
- Golf Pull carts
- Electric/gas/diesel carts or club cars
- Remote controlled/ Motorized golf carts
Obviously there is no need to drive(!!) a push or pull cart. We will be talking about the 3rd category golf carts.
Now in this article we are going to discuss the legal aspects that you can follow to drive on the road. So let’s get started with it.
If you are in a hurry, then just look at the highlighted point in the presented info-graphic below:
Street legal golf carts are an awesome and practical way to get around the town in style. You can drive these vehicles on roads with speeds of 35 miles or less in most places. However, to run a street legal golf cart, there are some things you have to follow and they are highlighted below.
1. Be careful about local laws
Just as it is important to buy the necessary items to legalize a golf cart in your area, it is also essential to have a clear idea of the local laws there. Before buying the necessary accessories you need to make sure that it is legal to drive golf carts on the roadways. Once you are sure, you will have no trouble running it.
However, if you do not get any local regulations or posts to run it, you need to take help from the local police department and need to know the golf cart laws from them.
2. Make good use of work lights
Before running golf carts you need to make sure that there are plenty of illumination with it. These lights come with headlights, brake lights, taillights and turn signals. In short, you will be able to transform your cart into a small standard car and need to have all these lights owned by this vehicle.
3. Add proper mirrors
Once your cart is equipped with the appropriate light set you are ready to go in the mirror. To drive legally on the road, you need to have your rearview mirror on either side of your cart as well as the side mirror. Without these three things there will be no effective way to look back while driving.
4. Spend money for seatbelts
Like other cars, you have to use seatbelts in it and for this you have to buy it separately by spending money. Make sure you have seatbelts on the front and back of your golf club car to keep everyone safe while operating the golf cart.
5. Use a speedometer
You need to use a speedometer to make sure you are running your golf cart at the right speed. This is very important for driving on the road as driving a golf cart requires keeping it within a certain range of speed and a speedometer can help you a lot for this.
6. DOT approved items
There are certain items needed for any vehicle on the road that are approved by The Department of Transportation or DOT. It is not legal to drive a vehicle on the road without those items and the same equation goes to golf carts.
If you want to drive a golf cart on the road, you must also have its tires, windshields, windshield wipers and seatbelts approved by the DOT. Whatever items you use, it should be either manufactured by DOT or you may need to be approved by DOT before installing them.
7. Minimum top speed
You can never compare the speed of a standard golf cart with other vehicles on the road because it is not so powerful. For this it is important to keep it at a minimum speed and it can be between 20 to 25 miles per hour. That’s why, you need to upgrade the engine of the golf cart.
On the other hand, some golf carts have speed of about 45 miles per hour that are too fast to drive on the road. In this case, you need to take the advice of the local administration and make the necessary upgrades so that the speed comes to a certain level.
8. Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
A 17-digit number that is used to easily identify a cart is known as a vehicle identification number or VIN. All vehicles must need a VIN number so that those can be driven on the road legally. You will need to contact local DOT officials if you want to get a VIN number for your golf cart. It is used for all purposes, from tracking numbers to how you and others use the golf cart.
You can never drive on the road without a vehicle horn, and golf carts are no exception. This is an important tool to help others ensure your presence while you are on the road. You can install it near your hand or beside to the steering wheel if you want. However, it should always be kept at hand so that any problem can be easily avoided.
10. Reflex reflectors
It is not usually used on standard vehicles but for slow-moving vehicles like golf cart, it is important to use. This makes it easier to see your cart as well as provides extra light which plays an effective role in keeping you safe.
11. License & Registration
We have already mentioned that golf cart is a kind of transport vehicle. Like some other vehicles, it also needs a license. However, in the case of golf carts, along with the license, it is also important to register properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
Wherever you want to drive your golf cart, you must first have an accurate idea of the local laws. Some places where it is completely legal, and there are some places where you have to get permission and abide by some restrictions. So be sure about the local law and then decide to drive in a neighborhood.
We have already tried to highlight what things are required for a golf cart street to be legal in our article. Basically, those things play a significant role. Some other notable facts, such as having a protective windshield, getting a slow-moving vehicle sign, vehicle identification number, etc are also crucial for street legal golf carts. However, the requirements mentioned above are more important for a golf cart to be street legal.
Just as you need a driving license to drive other cars, you need to have a driving license to drive a golf cart. But a golf cart is a car for which you may sometimes have to insure and register.
A golf cart is a type of transportation system that is designed like a motor vehicle. It can only carry two people, including the driver, and is primarily designed to carry golf equipment. Although it is intended to be a motor vehicle, it is not considered a motor vehicle but is defined as a transport code.
Even if you don’t have a license, you can drive a golf cart on your personal property. However, all states that allow you to drive on public roads require a license plate. You need to register, ensure, and check to make sure your cart is safe for the roadway.
Most golf carts usually do not require a title to own or operate. There are some instances where a title can be assigned to a golf cart. People who convert golf carts to low-speed cars need a title for the cart.
Daisy is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Golfs Hub. She is associated with Golf for more than 20 years. She got the inspiration from her father. She is a very private person & doesn’t like to be photographed. She’s worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Now she is enjoying her retirement from day job… but not from Golf! Daisy lives in southeasternmost part of New York state with her family.