North Carolina Golf Cart Laws
The beauty of North Carolina’s many roads can be enjoyed in many different ways.
For example, you may own a golf cart or a low-speed vehicle that you want to take out.
Thankfully, North Carolina has rules and regulations that tell you when and where you can use your carts or low-speed vehicles.
Fully understanding these factors can help you avoid any legal complications connected to this use.
Don’t Neglect Federal Regulations
When riding golf carts or low-speed vehicles in North Carolina, you must follow the proper federal guidelines.
These are simple enough for most people to understand and don’t take a lot of work to grasp fully.
First of all, you must know that the federal government does not regulate golf cart use.
That’s because they only consider vehicles that can travel above 20 miles per hour as motor vehicles.
And golf carts do not qualify.
However, the federal government does restrict golf cart use on national and international highways.
That’s because these carts are incapable of traveling fast enough to be safe on these roads.
The same fact is true of low-speed vehicles – though they are considered legally motor vehicles, the federal government does not allow them on their roadways to protect drivers of all types, including those who own these vehicles.
If you do upgrade your cart to make it a low-speed vehicle, it falls under the same heading as other autos with this classification.
For example, your cart must travel at least 20 miles per hour but no more than 25 miles per hour.
If it exceeds these speeds, it is then a medium-speed vehicle. Guidelines on those vehicles vary depending on the state.
For example, North Carolina currently has no low on medium-speed vehicles.
And all carts or low-speed vehicles must meet minimum safety requirements.
These include adding headlights, stop lights, turn signals, taillights, reflex reflectors, parking brakes, rearview mirrors, windshields, seatbelts, and vehicle identification numbers to each cart.
This classification will vary based on states, in some ways.
For example, some will require you to register golf carts while others will ask only that low-speed vehicles get registered for use on roads.
North Carolina Laws on Golf Carts
Currently, North Carolina allows golf cart use in specific circumstances.
First of all, you can only operate a golf cart during daylight hours.
Legally, this time is defined as between sunrise and sunset.
As a result, your operational hours will vary depending on the season.
However, if your golf cart has two headlights and two taillights, you can take it out at any time during the night.
Proper golf cart use only occurs on secondary highways or streets where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour or below.
Secondary streets are usually those indicated as such by city or state officials.
When in doubt, just know that you can travel on roads under 35 miles per hour.
Any road higher is usually considered a primary route and is not a place where you should drive your golf cart.
Importantly, you also need a driver’s license and to be at least 16 years old when driving a cart.
Beyond that, you also need a registration certificate, proof of liability insurance for the cart, and the driver’s license on you at all times while you ride.
North Carolina has some of the most specific rules for golf cart use in the nation, and this specificity continues with its low-speed vehicle use as well.
Laws and Rules for Low-Speed Vehicles in This State
When riding low-speed vehicles in North Carolina, you must upgrade them to include all federal guidelines mentioned above.
These include possessing a VIN, owning headlights and taillights, installing turn signals on the front and back of the cart, and adding a windshield.
These upgrades will make your cart a low-speed vehicle and give it the capacity to ride on appropriate roads.
After installing them, your car must be properly inspected by a DMV official to ensure total safety.
Like with golf carts, you can ride your low-speed vehicles on roads with a speed limit of 35 miles per hour or below.
You also need to have a valid driver’s license, a registration, a license, and Personal Injury Protection and Property Damage insurance coverage.
These policies help to keep you from severe financial and legal trouble should you get into an accident while driving your cart.
Remember: you can also be ticketed as a low-speed vehicle driver.
Therefore, you must follow all driving laws, including those for alcohol use and reckless behaviors.
Federal Golf Cart Laws
Even though our guides are thorough and researched, it is highly recommended that you perform your own research and check with your local municipality on rules as well.