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Go Carts - How to Survive by Being Safe!

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Go Carts - How to Survive by Being Safe!

Larry Johnson
January 4, 2006

When you're driving 5, 10, 15 or 20 mph in your go cart it's a fairly save way to have fun. But at speeds of 160 mph or more it can get a little hairy unless you take some safety precautions.

Go carts are certainly thrilling, but they can also be dangerous if not taken seriously. You have to remember that it's not just you out on the track. There will be other drivers attempting to pass you around sharp corners whose talent may be questionable at best. By following a few common-sense safety rules you can eliminate most of the serious dangers.

Different types of go carts can have speeds ranging anywhere from very slow to very fast. But regardless of the speed they are always exciting to race. They are simple vehicles that are also easy to handle. No matter what your skill level there are tracks all over the country that will fill your needs and wants. There are many go cart classes or levels that will cater to every age range from kids to adults. Gocarts are generally easy to drive and easy to control. This is why they have become so popular, because it's an easy and relatively cheap way to experience the thrill of Formula 1 racing without the expense or the danger.

There are many different types of vehicles that are built for racing fun. Among these are ATV off road vehicles, motor scooters, dirt bikes, mopeds, mini bikes, motorcycles and gopeds. But if you are wanting to experience the thrill and excitement of Indy Car or Formula 1 open-wheel racing, with a powerful gas engine rocketing you down the track, and with relative safety, go carts are what you will want to be climbing into.

For beginners to experts, and everyone in between, go carts are fun. Whether you want to drive as slow as your Grandma or as fast as Tony Stewart and Michael Schumacher, racing go carts can get you there. Many top professional NASCAR, Formula One and Indy Car drivers today got their start in the lowly go cart. With a lot of practice maybe you can achieve the same success.

It wasn't too long ago that go carts were mostly found in family fun centers where any kid and his little brother could go racing at a whopping 15 or mph. They still exist, but real go cart tracks have been springing up all over. It's now possible to go 60 miles an hour in a go cart. And if that's not fast enough for you try an enduro cart and reach top speeds of 90 mph. Or race in a shifter cart at an astounding 160 mph. Don't start sweating yet, you don't have to go that fast to have fun. You can drive in any level or class that you feel comfortable with.

But this brings up some questions: With go carts speeding down the track so fast these days, are they too dangerous to drive? Can you travel as fast as 100 mph and still be safe? The answer is yes and no. Sure, you can still be safe, but without following certain safety rules you can increase your chances of serious injury. It's not necessarily the fast speeds that cause the serious accidents, but the unsafe or inexperienced drivers.

The first rule of the road is to remain in your comfort zone. This is easier said then done however because racing is not for the timid. At some point, when you want to move up to a more experienced level or class, you may not feel equipped to do that. However, by building up your confidence in the lower classes you will eventually be ready for more competition. Just don't try to move up faster than your driving expertise allows.

Back in the olden days, when go carts were extremely slow, you could go racing safely without a helmet. Those days are long gone. Even in kiddie tracks helmets are a requirement now. The helmet is perhaps the most important piece of equipment that a go cart driver will ever use. There are other pieces of equipment that are necessary too, but none more important than a high-quality helmet. In the event of a crash it can spare you from a serious head injury.

To a great extent you can control the amount of danger that you are faced with. Many decisions that you make before climbing into the cart will determine how safe it will be for you out on the track. From the type of clothes you wear to the type of go cart you buy will help determine your safety level on the track. By taking every safety precaution that you possibly can you will lessen your risk of sustaining a serious injury. So do your homework and be prepared. It's a lot more fun racing go carts when you can walk away after a race instead of having to be driven away in an ambulance.

The importance of clothing can't be overstated. The slower you race the less important clothing becomes, but the faster your go cart goes the more you need to be sure you are clothed properly. Depending on your speeds certain clothing may help spare you from serious injury. At faster speeds fire safety suits are a must. There is ignitable fuel in your vehicle and in the event of a crash it is possible for it to catch fire. Preventing burns is a very desirable thing. Other indispensable gear includes fire-resistant racing shoes to protect your feet and gloves for your hands.

All go carts today have roll bars that extend higher than the driver's head. The chassis of the go cart will either be open or caged. A caged go cart has a cage that covers the driver. It protects the driver in the event of a rollover. It serves the same purpose as a roll bar. Most tracks demand a cage for safety. Go carts also have side bars that can protect you from serious injury should another driver ram you from the side. You have to remember, you could be the greatest driver in the world, but you're not out there alone. You are driving with others whose skill levels may leave a lot to be desired. So buying a quality go cart is always a good idea.

By taking these few simple precautions it will improve your chances of having fun out on the track by lessening your chances of becoming injured. Go carts can be just about as safe as you make them. With some practice and experience there is no reason why any driver can't move up the ranks safely. Keep safety as your number one goal and go carting will be fun for many years to come.

About the Author:

Larry Johnson loves racing go carts. Fast go carts is his addiction. Nothing is better than a little go cart action unless it's a lot of go cart action. For more information about cheap go carts visit http://www.go-carts-supreme.com.

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