Similar to a Segway in terms of functioning, a hoverboard is a two-wheeler scooter without any handle to hold on to. One has to balance oneself on it as its movement is completely dependent on the rider’s weight balance. When the rider shifts their body weight to the left, it turns left. It turns right when the body weight is shifted to the right.
Ever since its launch a few years ago, hoverboards have been a hot selling item in several countries, including the US. From kids to senior citizens, people of all age (and size) want to get their hands (err, feet) on it. As cool and flick a hoverboard may look, using it is not a child’s play.
A few weeks ago, a man was caught falling backwards and sandwiching his own child to death. The freak incident was caught on a video camera. There have also been incidents where hoverboards’ batteries have exploded.
As a result, it is advisable to take all sorts of necessary precautions and follow the safety tips pertaining to riding a hoverboard. Following is a compilation of hoverboard safety tips and precautions:
Hoverboard Safety Tips and Precautions
1. Use the right Hoverboard
While most Hoverboard manufacturing companies do take the necessary safety measures, there are Chinese variants which don’t really take those safety measures.
Hence, it is extremely vital to opt for a hoverboard which complies with the safety standards. A model with UL 2272 certification is a universally accepted safety standard for hoverboards. You must visit the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
2. One size does not fit all
What may be perfect for your friend, may not be right for you. There are several varieties of Hoverboard available in the market. When buying a hoverboard, you also need to ensure whether your desired model is right for you or not. If you are an adult, you should not ride a hoverboard for kids.
Likewise, kids should not ride a hoverboard meant for adults (unless their size allows them to). On average, a hoverboard is 7” wide and can carry a person weighing up to 100 kgs (220 lbs). If you need something wider or if you are heavier, you would need to purchase a hoverboard with respect to your requirements.
3. Learn how to fall
This safety tip is usually overlooked not just by riders, but also by instructors. If you don’t know how to fall safely, don’t get on a hoverboard. Whether it is mentioned in the instruction manual or not, learning how to fall should be on the top of your hoverboard precautionary measures.
If you are an adult, you are more likely to injure yourself after a fall than if you are a child. Why? Science. The speed, mass, and height affect the magnitude of the fall. Therefore, should you fall, duck a little and make yourself smaller before falling forward and rolling subsequently.
4. Wear the necessary safety gear
I have been skateboarding ever since I was a kid. Even today, when I step on a skateboard, I make sure I’m wearing a helmet. Whether you are a professional or just a beginner, never use a hoverboard without a helmet.
You need to buy yourself a skateboarding helmet. They are hard, sturdy, and light in weight. All that and does what it’s supposed to do – protects your head. In fact, don’t just limit your safety checks to a helmet, especially if you are a rookie.
Wear proper gear such as knee guards, elbow guards, etc. In addition to that, don’t forget to wear proper footwear. Shoes, not slippers.
5. Explore the riding surface
Most hoverboards are not made to be used on the roads or the streets. Since their wheels are tiny and not very sturdy, (unless specifically mentioned) their usage should be limited to indoors.
Having said that, before you take your Hoverboard for a spin, it is extremely critical to inspect the surface you are planning to ride the machine on. The surface must be dry and free from any obstacles (including, but not limited to, furniture).
6. Getting on and off
Learn how to get on a Hoverboard and also learn to disembark safely. The latter is slightly difficult compared to the former. When you set your feet on a hoverboard, you just need to make sure that you step forward while distributing the weight on the entire foot.
Also, stepping forward means you can see what is in front of you. However, at the time of getting off a hoverboard, you should step backwards. Therefore, practice getting on and off your hoverboard before you take it for a spin.
7. Get the right posture
When it comes to riding a hoverboard, there is a right way, as well as plenty of wrong ways. Albeit it may not seem like, your posture is the most essential element to keep you safe. Since its movement depends mainly on the rider’s posture, one major mistake can make it fatal for the rider.
One of the most common mistakes made by most hoverboard riders is that they keep their feet too close. There should be a wide stance, as wide as possible. Additionally, stand upright, unless you are preparing to fall. So, work on your posture before advancing or changing gears. Having said that, it is easy to ride it safely.
8. Look in front of you
When I was learning how to surf, one of the key lessons my instructor gave me was to look in the front. Always. The same applies when you go snowboarding. Or skating. Or any such activity where balance plays the most important role. Looking at either of your sides whilst riding a hoverboard would shift your weight and put you off balance. That can likely result in your fall. Therefore, always look in the direction your hoverboards is moving.
9. Go slow and steady
You must have heard the adage – slow and steady wins the race. It is absolutely true for hoverboarding. No matter how many hours of experience you have been riding a hoverboard for, do not go too fast.
The battery-operated scooter is infamous for blasting due to short circuit or battery failure. Also, unlike a skateboard, it is not designed for tricks and stunts. If you need to ride it fast or want to carry out some sleep stunts, you should consider buying a scooter.
There is no doubt that riding a Hoverboard promises a joyride. But it is also essential to take every single precautionary measure to ensure that it remains a joyride.
It is true that injuries are a part and parcel of riding any machine, but there is no harm in doing everything you can to avoid it. Following these hoverboards safety tips will not only keep you safe but also ensure that you have fun while riding it. Fun, after all, is the desired result, isn’t it?