Do You Need a License for a Golf Cart?

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A woman holding her drivers license by her golf cart

Zipping around in a golf cart sounds like a beautiful retirement plan. Picture it. You hop in your golf cart and zip around the neighborhood, stopping at every turn to say hi to your neighbors.

They, by the way, are doing the exact same thing. It’s like bumper cars but without the bumping. 

Who needs a car when you have a golf cart? Wait, can you drive these things in the street? Do you need a license? Do you have to be retired? So many questions, and we have just as many answers.

Zipping around a neighborhood in a golf cart is one thing, but can you legally drive one on the street? Wouldn’t it be great if you could? 

Depending on the state or town you reside in, driving golf carts can actually be legal. Meaning, you could take a trip to the store in your very own golf cart. Just check with your local laws and ordinances. Sounds simple, right?

Finding out if driving on your street in a golf cart is simple enough by checking with your local and state law enforcement agencies. However, even if it’s legal to drive on the street, many rules and regulations come along with that legality. 

Laws state that you need all the things a car has. You need a vehicle identification number (VIN), a horn, a speedometer, proper tires, seat belts, windshield wipers, working lights and turn signals, and mirrors. You’ll also need a lighted license plate.

Another law requires the golf cart to be able to go at least 20 mph but not over 25 mph. When researching the regulations for your locality, be aware that the vehicle in question might also be referred to as a “low-speed vehicle” (LSV).

That’s not too bad, right? But wait, there’s more. 

Read More: Learn more about What Makes a Golf Cart Street Legal!

Do You Need a License to Drive a Golf Cart?

You’ll also need to have a driver’s license to legally drive a golf cart…in some states. So, just as previously stated, you’ll need to check with your state to determine if you need a license or not. If unsure, your best bet is to have one.

And more than likely, if you’re driving a golf cart, you already have a license, so this will hopefully be the least of your worries when it comes to tooling around your neighborhood in a golf cart.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Drive a Golf Cart? 

You might want to worry more about the age you need to be to drive a golf cart legally.

No, you don’t have to be retirement age. In fact, many young people use golf carts for transportation because it’s simply a cheaper vehicle to purchase and operate compared to a traditional car or truck.

And once again, there’s no straightforward answer. Each state and municipality can dictate the minimum age. Even though most states still require a golf cart driver to have a driver’s license and be at least 16 years of age, few don’t.

Close up of two driver's licenses to drive a golf cart

How Fast Can a Golf Cart Go? 

While golf carts are usually limited to cruising down the road at no more than 25 MPH for safety reasons, there are golf carts that can go faster. Some states also allow increased speed.

However, if allowed to go faster than 25 mph, you’ll probably also have to have increased safety gear on the golf cart, a driver’s license, insurance, and be at least 16 years of age.

The world record for the fastest golf cart is 120 mph, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that goes over 23 mph, even when larger tires and an upgraded motor are added. On the other hand, the average speed is about 12 mph to 14 mph. 

That’s ok. The slower you can go, the easier it is to tool around your neighborhood greeting your neighbors.

Two young boys driving a golf cart with a valid license

How Far Can You Travel on a Golf Cart? 

You can’t go fast in a golf cart, but can you go far? Again, many factors play a part, with the main one being whether it’s an electric or gas-powered golf cart. 

An electric-powered cart can go anywhere between 15 miles to 25 miles before having to be charged again. A gas-powered model can go a lot further. You’ll average anywhere from 100 miles to 180 miles with a four- to six-gallon tank. 

Other factors that come into play are the make and model of the cart, the horsepower, and the size of the fuel tank itself. A golf cart is not for long distances but can be the perfect vehicle for getting you around the neighborhood.

Keep in Mind: Do Fuel Saver Devices Actually Work? Let’s find out!

Do You Need Insurance for a Golf Cart? 

Whether getting around the neighborhood or driving to the grocery store, it’s a moving vehicle, and you might need insurance.

Again, each state and community is different, so before you head out the door to purchase a golf cart, you’ll need to know if you should also be purchasing insurance.

In general, if you have a golf cart that acts more like a car – somewhat – meaning it might go faster than the average speed, you will probably need insurance.

A golf cart driving down the street with a valid license

Hopping in a golf cart is easy. Trying to determine how to do so legally is another story. But in all reality, if you take the time to do the research ahead of time, driving a golf cart is as easy as hopping into it and tooling around your neighborhood.

Just remind yourself that no matter how fun your golf cart is, it’s still not a bumper car.

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