Go-karting is always synonymous with fun-filled weekends, beer, snacks, and hanging out with friends. And why not? This high-octane mini-motor sport is just as equally exciting to race indoors as well as outdoors. The main idea is: “Race now, chill out later.” That means you only get to enjoy alcohol after the race and not before. However, some racers tend to disagree, and they go for it anyway.
So, this begs the question: Can you Go-kart after drinking? The short answer to that is no. Common sense would always tell us that being in a stupor due to alcohol while driving a motor vehicle is not exactly the brightest idea of having fun.
Some Go-kart establishments in the U.K. and the U.S. might serve alcohol to customers, albeit they are only meant to be consumed after racing. Track owners aim to mitigate the risk by monitoring racers and alcohol use within their premises. They even have breathalyzer tests for precautionary measures.
How Fast Do Go Karts Go?
There are three types of Go Kart units: The Rookie Kart, which can go as fast as 40km/h. And the 2 seater Kart that goes as fast as 55km/h. Lastly, the Super Karts can reach speeds of up to 75km/h. Having a good time and racing karts can quickly become dangerous faster than you realize when you DUI or drive under the influence of alcohol.
Reasons Why You Should not Drive a Go-Kart when Drunk
1.Your Mental and Physical Control is Compromised.
Riding a Go-kart is just like driving a small car. It requires focus and unhampered attention to any direction your kart is going. Consuming alcohol in any situation impairs one’s depth perception and distances. It blurs your vision, and your color recognition will be off. Your reaction time will be delayed, which is, of course, critical when doing high speeds. You can only guess what could possibly happen next.
2.It Could Be Against the Law
Whether driving a Go-kart under the influence of alcohol is legal or not, the whole scenario is just a little above the gray area. It means that there is no direct provision in legislation (as far we know) that specifically prohibits riding an unregistered Go-Kart on private property. Therefore, in a way, it’s not illegal. But there are other ways that you can become liable for DUI.
More On the Law and Drunk Go-Karting in the U.K. and the U.S.
In the U.K., consuming alcohol while or before Go-karting is not illegal. That is, as long as you do it on private property. Since most Go-karts in the Queen’s country are not legal in the streets, it is not covered by the law of driving under the influence on public roads. However, if you get in an accident and maim, injure, or kill anybody, criminal laws will apply against you. Same as when you take your unregistered Go-karts to public roads, of which you will now have an unregistered vehicle violation.
In the U.S., consuming alcohol while Go-karting on private property lies in the gray area too. However, laws against drunk driving are clear. In Florida, for example, anyone caught DUI above the legal limit while physically controlling a motorized vehicle will go to jail. And this is regardless of whether you are on private property or a public road. You can also be sued if you injure anyone while DUI.
3.Potential Injury to Yourself and Others
Come to think of it, 10mph or 16km/h is already considered a low-speed accident. It could cause severe bodily injury such as the following:
·Whiplash- a neck strain caused by the head snapping forward due to a collision
·Head Trauma- You could be wearing a helmet and still get head injuries.
·Burn- Clothing or skin that scrapes against cement can end up becoming 2nd or 3rd-degree burns.
·Broken bones – hard impact on barriers or the track can also cause fractures that might require surgery.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 10,000 privately-owned go-kart injuries happen to children 15 years old and younger each year. On Nov. 21, 2020, two children died, and four others were rushed to the hospital after the Go-kart they were riding crashed into an SUV in College Mound in Kauffman County, Dallas, Texas.
Although alcohol wasn’t part of that accident, the deadly mishap illustrates the dangers of unsupervised go-karting along with the attitude of wanting to feel the thrill when engaging in dangerous overlaps. A Go-kart doesn’t offer much protection against accidents like these. Go-karting while drunk or being under the influence is highly discouraged, especially for those willing to risk for the thrill.
4.You May Damage Your Kart
A little dent here and there when you accidentally bump your co-racer on the track is probably okay. But if you constantly hit a colleague, bump against the wall, or worse, spin out of control and hit something at high speeds, your kart or rented kart could sustain damage that might be expensive to fix.
If you are an enthusiast who has built your own Kart from the ground up, you can expect to spend more on maintenance and spare parts. The same goes if you are renting, you still will need to pay for the damages when you could have avoided it in the first place.
5.You May Be “Black-Flagged” or Banned from the Race Track
Commercial indoor or outdoor racetracks are managed by responsible professionals who monitor what you do while you race. They are also responsible for replacing your unit when it breaks down due to mechanical problems due to no fault of yours. Similarly, they are also observing your riding skills and habits.
If you bump other drivers one too many times and always spin out of control, they may deem you lacking in driving skills and may conclude that you are a hazard on the course. They will wave a black flag and ask you to stop and get off your Kart and off the track. The driver could also be disqualified from the race.
Essential Tips on Safe Go Karting
Don’t worry. You can still have fun while putting safety first.
1.Invest and Wear Safety Gear
Get yourself an accredited crash helmet and a proper race suit. Get a brand of helmet known for testing their gear to ensure maximum protection and comfort. It may be a bit more expensive than a regular show helmet, but it will be worth protecting your head. Get yourself a pair of race gloves to avoid blisters on your hands, and wear suits with padding in them.
Don’t forget to make sure they are comfortable and airy, even when you are hunched down driving.
2. Get to Know Your Unit to Maximize Control and Safety
Aside from your safety gear and driving skills, get familiar with your kart before flooring the gas. Not all karts run the same. Some might be not so brand new and already have some wear and tear in them. Find your comfort zone with the kart and run with it.
3.Keep a Safe Gap
A Go-kart is not a bump car. You don’t get points from ramming other drivers. Try to maintain a few feet of safe distance from other drivers when racing. Give yourself some allowance when negotiating a curb. It’s okay to use all the available track space.
4.Attend Safety Briefings
Even though you are already an experienced Go-kart driver, it doesn’t mean that you are invincible from accidents. Mind you. It could still happen to anyone. It will do good for both novice and professional drivers to always attend safety briefings. There might be some details about the track that you haven’t known yet.
What are the General Rules to Follow When Go Karting?
The following rules apply whether you are on an outdoor private race track or a commercial indoor racetrack with other racers driving simultaneously with you.
Avoid contact of any kind with other karts or walls for any reason. Strictly, no blocking, no bumping at any time during, after, and before the race.
·Use your brakes when making turns.
·All participants and visitors must sign waivers for release of liability. Safety briefings must be attended at all times.
·No exceptions to all rules mentioned above.
Are we allowed to bring our own alcohol to be consumed after the race?
You may want to check the race track’s policy about alcohol. Some allow BYO, and others have separate bars that serve customers after the races. Otherwise, they will advise you to drink responsibly.
Can I get arrested for DUI in a Golf Cart?
In some states, yes, and in others, no. It depends on the local laws. But generally, a golf cart can be classified as a motorized vehicle. Hence, the possibility of getting arrested is also high.
If drinking is something that you cannot avoid, do yourself and your co-racers a favor: Why not grab a beer and spectate instead? There’s nothing quite like enjoying a can and cheering your friends on. Believe you me, and it’s a lot of fun too. Otherwise, enjoy and race safely.