Pause to Think About Safety Before You Chase That Adrenaline Rush

May 24, 2018
Motorsports safety with helmets

Trauma Awareness Month is coming to a close, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to forget about safety. Motorsports can be an exhilarating way to have a good time, but they can also be the cause of an unexpected trip to the emergency department.

The first piece of advice is to not drink while using any of these vehicles. Many preventable accidents are related to impaired judgment.

Here are some other safety tips for operating some common recreational vehicles.

Dirt bikes

Dirtbike safety

Dirt bikes can be just as dangerous as a motorcycle, especially for younger children. Choose a bike that is the right size for you or your child, so you can stay in control at all times. Riding a dirt bike that is too large or too small may make it harder to control the brakes and steer the bike. Each state has its own regulations about the size and type of bike you are allowed to ride, but a general rule is that you should be able to reach all the controls. Some other tips to stay safe while riding are the following:

  • Wear a helmet, goggles, long pants/sleeves, closed toed shoes and gloves
  • Avoid riding on the road, unless you are crossing a road to get to another trail 
  • Dirt bikes are not meant to be ridden on streets, roads or highways and may not have the proper lighting or safety features



Much like dirt bikes, ATVs can be lots of fun, but safety is important.

  • Always wear a helmet, goggles, long pants/sleeves, boots and gloves
  • Never carry a passenger on a single-rider ATV and no more than one passenger on an ATV specifically designed for two people
  • Supervise riders younger than 16; ATVs are not toys
  • Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed
  • Take a hands-on ATV safety course 

Personal watercraft

Watercraft safety

Riding a Jet Ski, Sea Doo or other brand of personal watercraft can be an invigorating way to spend a weekend on the Intracoastal Waterway or your favorite lake. Be sure you are practicing good safety habits for your own benefit and for others on the water.

  • Check the NC Boating Laws and Regulations website to see if you are required to carry a Boater Education Card (if you are 30 or under, you probably do)
  • Wear a lifejacket, helmet and eye protection
  • Stay in sight of shore, and avoid operating too close to residential and congested areas
  • Know the waters you will be operating in and observe all boating laws
  • Don’t use excessive speed. Going too fast inhibits your ability to react to unexpected obstacles in the water
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Know where other boats are and adjust your path accordingly. Always yield to larger boats, which may not be able to see you
  • Always use the safety lanyard that shuts off the watercraft if you fall off

Golf carts

Golf Cart Safety

Golf carts don’t get the adrenaline pumping like dirt bikes or personal watercraft, but injuries involving golf carts are on the rise. Common accidents include cart overturns, collisions, falling out of a cart and people being struck or run over by a cart. Here are some tips to safely operate a golf cart. 

  • Drive front first up any hills/inclines
  • Allow only the number of passengers for which there are seats
  • Do not allow anyone to ride standing on the back
  • Do not put vehicle in motion until all passengers are safely seated inside vehicle 
  • Always use hand signals to indicate your intent to turn due to the small size and limited visibility of the turn signals on a golf cart 
  • Never drive intoxicated or under the influence of any drug

This year Carolina Beach responded to the increase of golf cart related incidences with more regulations. Visit this link to see the new regulations and keep these in mind even if you are not in Carolina Beach. 

Categories: Your Health

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