Racing ride-on mowers seems to contradict the principle of using such a device safely. This is especially true when you learn that Australia's first known ride-on mower race took place in 1978 after the consumption of what was presumably rather a lot of alcohol. When you get your first ride-on mower, the idea of driving it as fast as it can go isn't going to be practical or safe. Racing a mower is another kettle of fish altogether, and when you use a ride-on mower for the first time, your primary concern should be safety. Never forget the power of a ride-on mower, since serious accidents are all too possible when a mower isn't operated with the utmost care. So what are some safety tips you need to be aware of when you get your very first ride-on mower?
Selecting a Ride-On Mower
There are a number of safety aspects that should be considered prior to purchasing a ride-on lawn mower.
Does the device conform to the applicable Australian safety standard (AS 3792.1)? You don't need to obtain and read the entire standard, but you need to ensure that your chosen mower is compliant to this particular code. This is necessary regardless of whether the mower is new or used.
Does the mower have an operator presence control (OPC)? This feature disables the engine when the driver leaves the operating seat for whatever reason. This instantaneous disabling of the engine can be highly beneficial when it comes to accident prevention.
Does the mower have an optional discharge chute? This is useful in case the mower runs over an obstacle (such as a piece of wood or stone). The chute angles the projectile downwards instead of allowing it to be expelled in a random direction.
Operating the Ride-On Mower
Before even starting the mower, carefully read the instruction manual. Familiarise yourself with the instrument panel so that you can respond quickly in an emergency.
Wear all appropriate safety gear. This includes closed shoes (work boots are best), covered trousers and long sleeves, safety goggles and ear protection.
Before you begin cutting your grass, familiarise yourself with the mower's operation and capabilities. This entails driving it around the area to be mowed prior to pressing the blade engagement button. Pay careful attention to how the mower handles on uneven terrain.
Ensure that all debris on the area to be mowed has been removed.
Make sure that any pets or children are indoors, or at least well away from the area where the mower is to be operated.
A ride-on mower can take a little bit of getting used to. You will benefit from establishing a best practise for your household when it comes to operating the mower, greatly reducing the possibility of an accident.