Wear the proper footwear
Sandals are not proper footwear for mowing the lawn, and it’s not because a spinning blade couldn’t slash through a leather shoe or boot, because it could. The reason sandals are a poor choice is that they’re less stable, and a trip, slip or stumble could cause you to come in contact with moving or hot parts. Sandals also increase the odds of pinching or stubbing a toe when mounting a riding mower or zero-turn mower.
Watch out for kids
Driving or pushing a mower around the yard is not the place for young children to show their parents how well they can “help.” Keep toddlers inside when mowing, and don’t let kids under 12 operate a push mower or kids under 16 run a rider. And avoid the temptation of giving your grandson a spin around the yard—lawn tractors and zero-turn mowers are designed for one person.
Avoid yard missiles
If you prefer non-shattered windows on your home and neighbor’s car, then pick up stones, branches, toys, sprinklers and other items before you start mowing. And if you do miss something and notice it while you’re mowing, don’t wait until you mow over to the spot. Pick it up right away. You may forget or be daydreaming when you do get there, and then BAM!
Don’t mow gravel
Never cross over a gravel driveway with the blades engaged. And if you live on a gravel road, mow grass near gravel only when there are no cars or pedestrians passing by. Launching rocks at your neighbors is not a good way to build relationships.
Don’t pull backward
Whenever possible, try not to pull a lawn mower toward you. If you slip, you could end up pulling the mower right on top of you. This is a real hazard, and there are a bunch of gruesome images online that can serve as a powerful reminder.
Ditch the key
Ditch the key
Lawn mowers look like a big toy to kids. They love to sit on them and pretend they’re really driving, which makes for a precious photo opportunity. But it’s not so adorable when you forget to remove the key and little Johnny is suddenly cruising down the lane. Husqvarna has a new keyless ignition system that allows the mower to be started with a simple code rather than a key. It’s available on their Z200 series zero turn mowers.Photo: Courtesy of The Family Handyman
Remove the spark plug before changing blades
It sounds goofy, but always remove the spark plug when working on the blade. If the piston happens to be at the top of the compression stroke, a little bump to the blade might force the piston over the “hump” and into the power stroke. This could cause the blade to lurch forward, possibly whacking your hand in the process!
Mind the hills
Most riding lawn mowers are more likely to tip over sideways than forward or back, so mow up and down the hill. Mow hills side to side with push mowers. That way, if you do slip, you won’t fall toward the mower or have the mower roll back at you. Also, mowing wet grass on hills increases your chance of having an accident no matter which type of machine you’re using.
Wear hearing protection
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, listening to sounds over 85 decibels for extended time periods can cause hearing damage. Lawn mowers can produce more than 100 decibels—wear hearing protection.
Keep clear of moving blades
If the blades are spinning, don’t unclog the chute, adjust the wheel height, inspect the blades or do anything that would bring your appendages in harm’s way. The reasons are pretty obvious. And never disable the kill switch or tie down the safety lever.