Tractor mowers, or ‘ride on’ mowers as they are more commonly referred to in the UK, can save you a lot of time and manual labour if you have an extremely large garden to maintain but, as with all petrol driven or electrically powered garden tools, it’s important that you learn how to operate one safely before attempting to use one in addition to understanding and avoiding other potential dangers associated with ride on mowers.
Before You Start
Before you even get on to a ride on mower, make sure that you have thoroughly read and understood the manufacturer’s handbook.
Wear Appropriate Footwear and Safety Equipment
Rocks, discarded toys and other debris can be thrown out at any time from the underneath of a ride on mower so make sure that your head and face is protected by wearing a safety helmet, vision goggles and ear defenders. Sturdy footwear, such as steel toe-capped shoes or boots is also recommended.
Things to Look Out for Whilst Mowing
Before powering up the mower, you should inspect the garden first and remove any rocks or debris that could interfere with the mower’s performance. Always switch the mower off before moving it across paths or any gravelled areas. You should never allow children to operate the mower or to even ride on any part of it as a passenger with you. Not only can this hamper the view of the mower operator but they are not designed for two people and can become imbalanced which could result in your child easily being thrown off the mower and possibly getting severely injured by rolling underneath the blades. Flying debris is a real danger. Such is the power of a ride on mower’s blade that it can churn out debris at over 200 mph so be sure that all people and pets are kept well away from the area whilst you’re mowing and that you are wearing safety gear as outlined above. Also make sure that you only ever use a ride on mower on a relatively level surface. Don’t attempt to drive it across steep slopes as it could end up toppling over with you underneath it. Unless it’s absolute necessary, don’t mow in reverse gear and if you must, take extreme care that nobody and no obstacles are behind you.
Make sure that the ignition is fully switched off before carrying out any type of maintenance or cleaning whatsoever. Regularly check that the blade is secure and kept sharp and that all attachments are well maintained, secure, kept free of rust alongside tightening any nuts and bolts on a regular basis or as instructed by the user’s manual. Of course, you will also need to maintain the engine. You should only refuel a mower whilst the engine has been switched off for some time and is completely cool. Do this outside too, not in your garage, as it will disperse the petrol fumes more easily.
It’s important to realise that ride on mowers are very powerful and can be dangerous machines. People have lost limbs, suffered severe facial injuries and dislocated bones as a result of using a ride on mower but, if you pay attention to safety issues and follow the instruction manual to the letter, you’ll derive much pleasure from the amount of time you’ll be able to save by using a ride on mower.