Exmark Urges Zero-Turn Mower Owners to Drive Safely

BeatriceNE (April 02, 2008) — In the proper environment, zero-turn riding mowers are exceptionally safe and stable. However, mowing too close to sudden drop-offs, steep inclines and unstable ground near water sources can cause loss of traction and control, potentially leading to rollovers and other accidents.

As the spring mowing season begins, Exmark, a leading manufacturer of commercial mowers, urges owners to review their operator's manuals for safety guidelines. For quick reference, Exmark offers safety tips with photo illustrations on its Web site at https://www.exmark.com/Service-And-Support/Safety-Resources.

"Zero-turn mowers are fast, and they can turn on a dime. That's what makes them popular, but it's also what can make them dangerous in unsafe conditions," said Rod Benson, engineering services manager and product safety chairman for Exmark. "It's really important that users take care in operating these machines."

Benson said many mower operators underestimate the importance of a Rollover Protection System (ROPS) in preventing serious injury or death. Similar to a roll bar on a race car, ROPS (in combination with a seat belt) can prevent an operator from being pinned under the machine. Without ROPS, the operator remains unprotected from the weight of the mower?which can exceed 1,700 pounds on some models.

Exmark made ROPS standard on most commercial mowers in 2004, and will retrofit older machines that do not have a ROPS at no cost.

"An operator may have mowed a particular area week after week with no problems," Benson said. "But when people feel comfortable on their machines, they start to lose concentration. Conditions can change quickly, and you do not have time to react. A ROPS will help protect you and keep you from getting crushed."

Even with a ROPS in place, lawn mower owners need to use extra care on hills and ramps, which can cause loss of traction, Benson said. Movements should be deliberate and steady, with no sudden changes in speed or direction. When using a bagging attachment, operators need to remember the weight of the grass clippings affects the stability of the riding mower.

"Operators should always avoid mowing hills with slopes greater than 15 degrees, and make sure the ramp they use to load and unload their mower does not exceed 15 degrees," Benson said.

Exmark also recommends using a walk-behind mower or hand trimmer around retaining walls, drop-offs and water. If operators do not give themselves proper clearance near drop-offs, a wheel on the mower could slip over the edge, or the ground may give way. Grass surrounding lakes, ponds, drainage ditches or other standing water can be wet or slippery, and the ground underneath may be muddy or unstable. Hand trimmers and walk-behinds are much safer options in these situations.

"Hand work takes longer, and sometimes, operators are tempted to get as close to drop-offs or water sources as possible to save time," Benson said. "We ask our customers to plan ahead, and not to sacrifice safety by taking chances. It's not worth it."

For more information on safe operation of zero-turn mowers, visit https://www.exmark.com/Service-And-Support/Safety-Resources.

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Note to Editors: All media inquiries, image or interview requests should be directed to Matt Gersib at (402) 314-2150 or mattgersib@gmail.com. For other inquiries, please contact Exmark Mfg. Co., Inc., P.O. Box 808, Beatrice, NE 68310-0808; (402) 223-6300.