Texas Living

The Rules For Driving Golf Carts on Roads

By Abi Grise Morgan 7.10.23

A few years ago, House Bill 1281 updated Texas laws to permit golf carts onto residential streets. You may have spotted a few roaming around your neighborhood—as they are convenient for quick errands and drop-offs—and wondered if you should get one, too. Like anyone sharing the road, golf cart drivers are required to follow the rules of the road to keep passengers, pedestrians, and other drivers safe.

Here’s the scoop on driving golf carts on roads in Texas:

1. Get a Golf Cart License Plate

How you drive a golf cart around your private property is up to your discretion, but rolling through your neighborhood has a few requirements. While the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles does not title and register golf carts, you will need to apply for a golf cart license plate from your county tax assessor collector’s office using Form 130-U Application for Texas Title and/or Registration. Plates typically cost somewhere around $10.

golf carts on roads

2. Follow the Rules of the Road

Remember that you’ll need to adhere to all Texas road laws. Stop at stop signs, use your blinkers, never operate a vehicle of any kind while under the influence, etc.

3. Know Where You Can Drive

Keep in mind not all Texas roads have a green light for golf carts. Once you get your license affixed to your golf cart, here is where you can legally drive:

  • In a master-planned community with a standard set of restrictive covenants and a plat that the county or municipality has approved.
  • On a public or private beach that is open to vehicular traffic.
  • On roads with a posted speed limit of 35 mph or less during the daytime and not more than two miles from the location where it is usually parked for transportation to and from a golf course.
  • To cross intersections, including an intersection with a highway that has a posted speed limit of more than 35 mph.
golf carts on roads

4. Get the Mandatory Golf Cart Equipment

Golf carts don’t usually have seat belts, doors, or airbags, so it’s especially important to promote visibility to prevent accidents with other vehicles. All golf carts on roads in Texas are required to have:

  • Headlamps.
  • Tail lamps.
  • Reflectors.
  • Parking brake.
  • Mirrors.
  • Slow-moving vehicle emblem.

5. Practice Safe Driving

Driving a golf cart is not an apples-to-apples experience equivalent to driving a car. Before you get behind the wheel (or let anyone else drive your golf cart), it’s a good idea to brush up on basic golf cart safety protocols and give the vehicle a spin around a driveway or empty parking lot for practice.

  • Keep arms and legs inside the golf cart.
  • Keep passengers seated while in motion.
  • Never reverse downhill.
  • Place the golf cart in neutral and remove the key when not in use.
  • Lock the emergency brake before exiting the cart.
  • Do not exceed the maximum number of passengers allowed.
  • Approach steep or uneven ground vertically to avoid tipping over.
  • Honk at intersections.
  • Do not drive while texting, talking on the phone, eating, etc.
golf carts on roads

6. Outfit Your Golf Cart

A basic golf cart will get you from here to there, but adding upgrades can make your travels more comfortable and give your vehicle some style. Here are a few add-ons you may want to consider:

All-terrain tires: Are you planning off-roading excursions with your golf cart? All-terrain tires will give your golf cart more grip over bumpy, rocky off-road trails and paths. Before you head out, brush up on Texas off-roading laws.

Specialty cooler: Golf cart coolers are specially designed to securely mount onto your golf cart without eating up seating space. It’s a great way to keep drinks and snacks cool while taking a joyride around the neighborhood.

Rear flip seat kits: Most golf carts don’t have rear seating, which limits the number of passengers. Rear flip seat kits give you more space for family and friends—and some can fold down to transform into a flatbed, which is helpful for hauling gardening equipment, firewood, and more.

Speakers: Music makes everything better—including cruising down the street with the wind in your hair and a smile on your face. Most golf carts are not equipped with speakers. Clip a waterproof Bluetooth speaker to the cart to jam out to your favorite songs on the road.

Fan: Golf carts don’t have air conditioning, so you’ll need to clip or zip-tie a fan to your vehicle to get some extra air moving about the cart. You’ll be thankful for this small luxury come summer!

Is My Golf Cart Covered By My Insurance Policy?

Your auto insurance policy most likely doesn’t cover your golf cart. Before you purchase a golf cart or take it out for a ride, talk with your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent to get a download on whether your policy extends to damage or theft of your golf cart. 

Have you been to the 10 best public golf courses in Texas?

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2023 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance