The Hidden Hazards of Summer Vehicles

Boats, golf carts, and other summer vehicles are fun, but they can be dangerous too. Test your safety knowledge and prepare to relax the smart way.

The temperature’s hot, the water’s cool, your summer vehicles are all shined up, and your next cookout is so close you can taste the char marks. We know exactly what this time of year screams: POP QUIZ!

Ok, so maybe a quiz is the last thing on your mind while you’re in the throes of summer. But the fact is, safety needs to be an important part of your long-term summer plans.

With that in mind, just how well do you know your toys of summer? Test your knowledge of summer vehicles and take your warm-weather whimsies to new (and safer) heights.

 1. Drinking and boating is … 

a)    Frowned upon, but not a big deal

b)    Just as bad as drinking and driving, if not worse

c)    Illegal on all days except holidays

d)    Proven to cancel out the effects of seasickness

Answer: B. The elements that surround you out on the water — wind, bright sun, motor noise, wave motion — tend to amplify the effects of alcohol, which means 1 drink on the water equals 3 on land. In fact, at just .035 percent BAC, a boater’s ability to drive becomes impaired. So it’s no surprise that drinking and boating is illegal, just like drinking and driving (yes, even on holidays).

2. Drinking and boating causes what percentage of fatal boating accidents per year?

a)     5 percent

b)    12 percent

c)    16 percent

d)    34 percent

Answer: C. Alcohol plays a major role in 16 percent of boating deaths — in fact, it’s the number one overall cause.

3. Which of the following is true of average Jet Ski® or personal watercraft (PWC) owners?

a)    They really regret the “European-cut” Speedo® as they hit that first big wave

b)    They share their PWC/Jet Ski with an average of 3 other riders per day

c)    They have a mortal feud with traditional boaters

d)    Their vehicles are involved in more fatalities than boats

Answer: B. It’s important to remember that the person riding that Jet Ski might not actually own it. Sure, many people who buy a PWC are knowledgeable about safety … but is their novice-rider buddy who took it out for a quick sunset spin?

4. All terrain vehicles (ATVs) can travel at speeds of …

a)    25 mph

b)    35 mph

c)    50 mph

d)    60 mph or more

Answer: D. Yep, believe it or not, ATVs can go over 60 mph! To help ensure ATV safety, wear your protective gear, avoid carrying passengers, and take a riding class. Oh, and of course, mind your speed.

5. Riders in a motorcycle group should be spaced …

a)    In a relatively tight, staggered formation

b)    Single file

c)    As far from one another as possible

d)    In the shape of the Harley Davidson logo

Answer: A. If you’re celebrating the warm summer days with an invigorating motorcycle group ride, you might be tempted to drift from your other riders or follow right behind them. But the safest way to ride in a group is in a tight, staggered formation with riders alternating sides of the lane. This formation ensures your group can be easily spotted and gives you room to maneuver.    

6. What’s the proper way to make a Segway turn?

a)    Leaning into the turn

b)    Leaning away from the turn

c)    While singing along to Donna Summer

d)    Bending at the knees slightly and not leaning

Answer: A. Turning a Segway can be quite tricky (and dangerous). Just turn the steering grip slowly and lean into your curve to help maintain balance.

7. Nearly half of golf cart-related injuries come from …

a)    Frontal collisions

b)    Rear collisions

c)    People falling out of the cart

d)    “Double-Bogey” rage

Answer: C. Chances are you won’t give a second thought to golf cart safety as you hit the course this summer. But because your average golf cart lacks seat belts, doors, and stability controls, it’s a riskier vehicle than you might think. When you’re on the links or road, be sure to keep your hands, arms, and feet … oh, just keep yourself inside the cart.

8. True or false: scooters/mopeds are safer than motorcycles.

Answer: False. Just because your scooter or moped is slower than a motorcycle doesn’t mean it’s automatically safer. In fact, more accidents happen on 35-mph-and-under roads than on interstates. Even for scooter riders, summer vehicle safety is always important.

How’d you do?

Hopefully you got a helpful refresher on summer vehicle safety and are ready to hit the trails, street, or water in style.

Need insurance for your summer toys? Motorcycle insurance offers coverage for a range of nifty rides.

Related links

Prepare for this summer (and many more) with 5 predictions on future motorcycle trends

View our top 3 boating safety tips before you hit the water this summer

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