Go-Karts are smaller lightweight vehicles designed to zip around with speed and agility, but like any other vehicle, you may be wondering if these fun recreational machines can flip. Understanding the inherent risks in karting can be the first step in developing a robust safety plan for you or your rider.
Can A Go-Kart Flip Over?
Go-Karts, much like any other vehicle, can flip over. While Go-Karts are designed to take sharper turns and handle racing situations better, accidents still occur, often causing injuries. Some karts have better safety features than others, but none are unflippable.
If you, or someone you know, are into karting, make sure you understand the risks involved with the sport. It can be a fun way to get outside and feel some speed, but you need to be careful and make sure you have safety in mind, especially in racing situations.
What Causes Go-Karts to Flip?
Go-Karts are designed to handle the kind of racing that they are so known for. This means that they engineered with a lower center of gravity in the kart. This feature makes sure all four wheels stay grounded when the driver decides to cut a turn to overtake the leader.
Although this lower center of gravity helps to keep the kart on the track, there are plenty of situations where you can quickly flip a Kart if you are not careful.
Here are some of the most common ways Go-Karts flip:
- Steering too sharply, or taking turns too quickly.
- Contact with other karts on the track
- Hitting objects on the track, like loose parts or rocks if on a dirt track.
- Uneven surfaces on the track, this could be the curbs on the track or hills.
- Shifting center of gravity, If the center of gravity is too high, then you have a higher risk of flipping over.
A Go-Karter is in the most precarious safety situation when they are racing. There are more risks of collisions in these situations, which could easily cause a kart to flip.
There is also the psychology of racing that makes a driver more prone to taking risks. When you try to push your machine to its limits, you start to see the built-in safety features, like the low center of gravity, begin to be tested.
If you, or your rider, are into Go-Kart racing, you should be aware of the potential risks and most common ways to get into an accident. Being able to avoid things that could risk a rollover is the best way to prevent a dangerous situation from occurring.
Go-Karting can be fun and safe, but you must drive with caution.
Are Go-Karts Safe?
Go-Kart accidents happen every year. The most common injuries sustained in these incidents are:
- Head Trauma
- Broken Bones
- Soft-tissue injuries; damage to muscles or ligaments.
In a study done in The Netherlands, it was reported that almost all the patients admitted to the hospital with Go-Kart related injuries were individuals under the age of 24.
One common misconception when it comes to a Go-Kart’s safety features is that they are similar to race cars. This is not necessarily the case. While there are karts that offer extended safety features, most Go-Karts you see on the market today don’t contain the kind of safety characteristics you would expect in a commercial vehicle.
While most karts don’t travel at the same high speeds as race cars, injuries occur even at lower speeds.
Go-Karts do not have:
- Roll Bars/Cages, most Go-Karts don’t have this integral racing safety feature. There are karts, mostly higher-end racing types, that have roll cages, but most do not.
- Air Bags, what is common for most commercial vehicles, is not typical for small racing karts.
- Crumple zones/additional features, most karts are designed for speed and fun, so safety features like crumple zones are not really in the design. Most karts are limited in their design and don’t include the complicated safety features you are accustomed to in other vehicles.
With the lack of these features, you are almost always exposed to hard asphalt of the track. This is where you see the most injuries occur. Most kart seats are also not designed with too much safety in mind and don’t support the neck and head areas that are prone to injuries during a collision.
Being safe in your kart means driving safely with the understanding you don’t have the same kind of protection you do in your car.
While Go-Karts don’t come standard with the same types of safety features you would expect in say a car, they do come designed with racing in mind. This means that they have a wider base, making sure the center of the kart of gravity is so low. It also means the tires are usually wider, allowing for more contact on the track for traction and control.
Some karts, especially racing karts, have features like bumpers that protect the wheel well. This limits the possibility of wheel to wheel contact, one of the reasons karts flip. Beginner karts sometimes even have a frame that extends and protects more of the kart. This is the safest type of Go-Kart.
While Go-Karting does come with its inherent dangers, it does not mean it can’t be fun. In fact, with the proper understanding of your kart’s safety features and an understanding of the common ways people get in accidents can be the first step in a safer karting experience.
What Are Some General Safety Tips for Operating a Go-Kart?
Go-Karting can be a fun and exhilarating recreational sport. Following some simple safety guidelines will ensure that you are doing all you can to prevent a severe accident like a flip over.
Here are some general safety tips you can follow:
- Wear a helmet; this is by far the most simple and effective way to help prevent and injury. Other proper safety gear includes the right shoes and clothes.
- Use other karting safety equipment; this includes additional safety pieces like a neckbrace, proper karting gloves, or even a racing suit.
- Equip a roll cage; while this feature does not come standard in many karts, it does not mean that you can’t install one yourself.
- Keep arms and legs in the kart; especially in the event of an accident, you want to make sure you either keep your hands on the wheel or, at the very least, close up to your chest to prevent an injury.
- Never ride more than one to a kart; unless your kart is designed for two people, never under any circumstance allow someone else to ride in your kart. While it may seem like an easy way to give someone a karting experience with you at the controls, you sacrifice safety for yourself and your rider.
- Regular kart maintenance; making sure your vehicle is working in the proper order can prevent future accidents from happening on the track. This means understanding what proper working conditions are for your kart. This might mean taking on proper training not just for maintenance, but also for proper operations of the vehicle.
- Drive Safely; when it comes down to it, the best way to prevent an accident from happening is not putting yourself in the situation where one might occur. This means being aware of your surrounding and other karts when driving around the track.
These are just a few ways you can make sure your karting experience is also a safe one. Go-karting can be a fun and exciting way to get some speed and make some friends.