Making a Golf Car “Street-Legal”—What You Need to Know
More and more people are buying golf cars without the golf course in mind. A lot of golf cars don’t require gas, are much quieter than standard vehicles, and have a smaller footprint, which makes traveling easy. It’s no wonder golf cars are becoming more popular for travel. But taking your golf car off the course means that there are some different rules.
You can’t just hit the streets without some extra preparations first. There are strict federal and state guidelines in place that keep all drivers safe on the roads, but they really aren’t that hard to follow. In most cases, any golf car can be turned into a legal slow-moving vehicle as long as they meet specific requirements.
Speed is the first requirement, and is arguably the most important—because without this one, the others don’t matter. Your golf car has to be able to reach a minimum speed of 20 mph, and a maximum speed of 25 mph. This speed range is classified as slow-moving, which means you can’t take your golf car on the freeway. This type of vehicle is limited to roads that have a speed limit of 25 mph or less.
If your golf car can’t reach these speeds, you’ll have to look into modifying the engine to get more power out of it.
If your golf car can meet the speed requirement, it’s already on its way to being street legal. It’s important to keep in mind that, even if your car’s top speed is 25 mph, that’s enough to injure yourself or someone else. Driving on public roads can be dangerous, so it’s crucial that you take it seriously.
Other drivers need to be able to see you—you wouldn’t drive your regular car at night without lights, right? You shouldn’t drive your golf car without lights either. To qualify as street legal, you’ll need headlights, tail lights, turn signals, brake lights, horn, and side reflectors. That may sound like a lot, but there are plenty of street legal golf car kits on the market with all of those things included.
Because golf cars are smaller, slower, and more exposed, you have to do everything you can to make it as safe as possible. That means equipping it with mirrors, a windshield, and seatbelts.
Mirrors are essential for seeing behind and around your car. Side mirrors are a necessity, but you can also get a center rearview mirror for extra visibility. Different local laws may dictate more specifically what types of mirrors you have to have.
A windshield will keep bugs, rain, dirt, and everything else out of your face while driving. It also acts as a safety barrier that can prevent serious injury in an accident. These are also required by law. Golf car windshields in particular are made of a strong acrylic that won’t shatter. You can purchase wipers for your golf car as well, although those aren’t a necessity.
Every seat in your golf car needs a seatbelt. Golf cars are completely open, and falling out of them is a real danger. Seatbelts will help keep you and your passengers safe and contained in the car in sharp turns or accidents.
Driving Your Golf Car
Just like with standard vehicles, you have to be insured if you’re driving. Most automobile insurance companies can provide you with coverage as long as you have the appropriate information and legal status. A lesser known requirement—you have to be 21 or older to legally drive golf car on a public road.
Your golf car also has to be registered with the appropriate governing bodies. It needs a VIN, or vehicle identification number, which you’ll receive during the registration process. The VIN should then be properly displayed on your golf car. To keep up your registration, your golf car should be inspected for safety on a yearly basis.
Just like your standard car, you’ll need a state driver’s license and a tag to drive it. In addition to these things, you’ll also need a slow-moving vehicle sign. Other drivers moving at higher speeds than you might not notice right away that you’re a slow-moving vehicle. A specific sign lets them know what to expect of your speed, and will minimize the risk of accident.
Laws and requirements for making your golf car street legal will vary from state to state, so check on the specific laws for your state.
Ready to take your golf car to the street? Call Diamond Golf Cars today.