Golf Carts Vs. LSVs: Key Differences You Should KnowSeptember 7, 2023
What Year is My EZGO Golf Cart?November 27, 2023
Golf carts provide a fun, eco-friendly transportation option for short trips and neighborhood cruising. But can you drive a golf cart on the road, too?
Many golf-cart enthusiasts who visit our stores want to ensure they can use their new vehicle beyond the confines of their local area or community, and why not make the most of it…
So, Are Golf Cart Street Legal?
The short answer is ‘Yes’. Golf carts can be operated on public roads in South Carolina, but as long as they are adjusted to meet certain requirements. Below we break down the steps for making a golf cart street legal, including registration, licensing, insurance requirements, and golf cart laws SC.
Part 1 – The Registration Process for a Street Legal Golf Cart
The first condition to making a golf cart street legal for any public roadway in South Carolina is registering it and obtaining a permit from the DMV. Here’s how:
- Complete the Golf Cart Permit Registration Form (SCDMV Form GC-2). Forms are available on the SCDMV website or at any local DMV office.
- Provide current proof golf cart insurance. Minimum liability limits apply, so check with your insurance agent.
- Supply your valid South Carolina driver’s license number on the registration form.
- Pay the $5 golf cart permit fee.
Upon approval, you’ll receive an official permit decal to display on your golf cart anytime you operate it on public roads. Failure to properly register and permit your golf cart before driving on the streets could result in fines or having the vehicle impounded.
Part 2 – Street Legal Golf Cart Laws
Licensing Requirements for Golf Cart Drivers
Only licensed drivers 16 years or older can legally operate a registered street legal golf cart on South Carolina streets, and drivers must carry their valid SC driver’s license when driving on public roads. Unlicensed drivers operating a golf cart on roads, even if appropriately registered, could face severe criminal penalties.
Liability Considerations for Golf Cart Owners
Allowing unlicensed, underage, or impaired drivers to operate your registered street legal golf cart could result in criminal penalties or civil liability if an accident occurs. Only allow people with a valid license and your express permission to drive your golf cart.
Documents Required When Driving a Street Legal Golf Cart
When operating a registered golf cart on any public street in South Carolina, drivers must have the following documents in their possession, readily accessible in the vehicle:
- Valid South Carolina driver’s license
- DMV-issued golf cart permit
- Proof of current liability insurance coverage
Incompliance with these requirements could lead to potential citations or impounding.
When and Where Can You Drive a Golf Cart on the Road?
When driving a properly registered golf cart on public roads, it’s important to follow state laws and regulations:
- Golf carts are only permitted on local secondary roads and neighborhood streets with a speed limit of 35 mph or less.
- Golf cart travel is limited to within 4 miles of the registered address listed on your DMV-issued permit.
- Golf carts can only be operated during daylight hours, unless night driving is specifically allowed in your area. Check out our Golf Carts at Night – Safety Guide.
- Note that traffic laws apply to golf carts as well.
- Remember, the law prohibits using unregistered golf carts on public roads, even at night.
To avoid legal trouble, check for local ordinances that may restrict golf cart operation in your area.
It is illegal in South Carolina to operate any motor vehicle including golf carts while intoxicated. Never drive drunk or impaired – you could face DUI charges and serious legal consequences.
Part 3 – Safety Recommendations while Driving A Street Legal Golf Cart
Golf carts are fun to drive, but they lack many standard automotive safety features that help protect passengers in a crash. To make a golf cart street legal, certain equipment should be installed:
- Headlights and taillights for visibility at night, in low light or bad weather conditions.
- Turn signals
- Seatbelts for all seating positions. Always wear seatbelts!
- Side view and rearview mirrors.
- Windshield for wind and debris protection. Keep clean for maximum visibility.
- Front, rear, and parking brakes.
Furthermore, caution and moderate speeds are strongly recommended when driving golf carts on roads. Even when equipped with all the safety features mentioned above, golf carts do not protect occupants like a standard automobile, so defensive and responsible driving practices are critical for safety. Drive attentively, avoid distractions, and be prepared to brake.
Part 4 – Other Means of Street Legal Vehicles: Golf Carts vs. LSVs
In addition to golf carts, Low Speed Vehicles (LSVs) provide another street-legal option with fewer operating restrictions thanks to improved safety features.
LSVs have built-in safety essentials like headlights, seat belts, turn signals, and VIN numbers to meet federal motor vehicle standards. This allows licensed LSV drivers to operate on designated roads at any hour rather than only during daylight. LSVs also are not subject to golf cart distance limits from registered addresses. Learn more about the difference between golf carts vs. LSVs.
Make Your Golf Cart Street Legal Today
While meeting all the requirements to make a golf cart street legal may seem daunting, please keep in mind that these rules exist to protect you and other drivers. After investing in a golf cart and customizing it, you’ll want to enjoy using it to the fullest. By following the steps to register, insure, and equip your golf cart properly, you can drive it legally on designated roads and get the most out of this fun vehicle safely.
At Garretts Golf Cars, we are always at your service. Our professional teams in the Greenville and Charleson locations are happy to provide personal consultation and show you the in-store inventory. In the meantime, read more about our LSV offering, chat with us online, or leave us a message on our website.