Riding lawn mowers move much faster than walk-behind mowers; therefore, you complete your mowing task faster. Unfortunately, it takes just a small lapse of attention to cause a serious injury or accident. Due to this, you need to be cautious about riding lawn mower safety.
What you will learn
What is a riding lawn mower?
From its name, a riding lawn mower is a machine that you ride on. It’s large and you sit on it as you do on a tractor or car. For you to cut grass using it, you need to sit down on it and turn it on.
For manual transmission models, press the brake and clutch pedal down. Most of the models use a dual-purpose pedal. After pressing the pedal, turn on the ignition key and hit the start switch.
If you have an automatic model, start with pressing the start button or turn the switch on. For manual mowers, you may have to shift the gears, but for the automatic models, you simply need to hit the gas pedal and drive forward at your desired speed.
When it comes to steering the lawnmower, you do it the same way you do a car, in the direction you want to go.
Once you reach the area you want to mow, adjust the cutting height adjustment lever and engage the cutting blades. You do this by hitting the blade engagement lever or switch.
At this point, you can simply mow your lawn while steering as you go. Mow in a straight path from one end of the lawn to the other. Once you are done, turn around and mow in the opposite direction, slightly overlapping the previous path.
Riding lawn mower safety tips
The tips you need to consider when mowing your lawn include:
Wear personal protective equipment
Before you start mowing, confirm that you are wearing the right protection devices. You should wear head and hearing protection. Also, remember to wear safety glasses.
When it comes to clothes, wear close-fitting clothes. You also should wear non-slip safety footwear.
Avoid wearing radio headphones or any other portable music players as they are often a source of distraction.
Prepare the area
To avoid accidents, clear the mowing area of any sticks, stones, debris, and toys. This is to prevent the debris from being thrown by the lawnmower and end up hurting someone. The debris can also damage the lawnmower blades.
You also should keep children and pets away. To have an easy time cutting the grass, ensure that it’s fully dry.
Prepare the lawnmower
The lawnmower needs to be in top shape for you to get the most from it. If this is the first time you are using the machine, take time to understand all the components and thoroughly read the operation manual.
Also, pay attention to the operator-presence control system. This is a safety feature that shuts off the blades when the operator dismounts the machine or rises from the seat. Ensure that it’s functioning optimally.
It’s paramount that you understand how to stop the engine quickly in the event of an emergency.
If your riding lawn mower has a rollover protective structure, ensure that it’s installed properly. Don’t operate the lawnmower without having the protective structure in place.
Confirm that the mower blade drive belt is at the right tension and it’s free of debris.
Does your lawnmower have interlocks that prevent the lawnmower engine from starting? Look out for them and ensure they are working properly.
Run the engine at the lowest speed that it can work at. This reduces the force of the thrown objects. Also, pay attention to the grass catcher bags for wear and damage. If they are worn out, replace them.
How to mow using the riding lawn mower
Start with filling up the lawnmower with gasoline while taking care that you don’t spill or light a match. Riding lawn mowers are one-person machines; therefore, you shouldn’t carry your children or another person on them.
Operate the machine from the driver’s seat only while keeping your feet on the tractor all the time.
For great stability, mow straight up and down the slopes. Avoid mowing sideways. When you are approaching slopes, reduce the speed so that the machine doesn’t tip over or lose control.
Since the machine isn’t covered, be on the lookout for rocks, holes and other hazards that are within the eye level.
If there is any tall grass on your lawn, mow it twice at 90-degree angles.
Only mow in daylight. This way you not only mow better, you also reduce the chances of accidents happening.
If you have been on your lawn for a long time, take time to inspect the blades and shaft for any damage.
Never dismount or jump off a riding mower with the engine still running. Shut the machine following the right shutdown procedures before you get off.
It’s common for grass, leaves, and grease to accumulate in the lawnmower. Routinely inspect the unit and get rid of any accumulations that might be there.
Things to avoid when using a riding lawn mower
- Don’t use the mower on a very steep slope. This is because the machine can tip or rollover causing serious injury
- Don’t drive too close to a creek or ditch
- Don’t leave the lawnmower on a slope
- Don’t remove the grass catcher or unclog the chute with the motor running
- Don’t run the engine indoors
- Don’t leave the lawnmower unattended especially if the engine is running
- Don’t touch the hot motor parts
- Don’t stop or start the lawnmower suddenly when going uphill or downhill
- Don’t carry passengers