Just because your mower is in gear doesn't mean that you're cutting the grass. When your blade is disengaged, feel free to ride your mower as fast as you want -- within reason, of course. The rules that apply to riding across hills and slopes remain, but you have much less to worry about when your blade isn't chopping away. If you have to drive a few hundred feet from your garage to the field you're cutting, you can speed up to get there faster.
However liberating it may feel to open up the engine on your deck mower and cruise across the lawn at top speeds, remember that the vehicle you're riding is dangerous. Riding too fast can make it tip over or cause other accidents, and when you're sitting on top of a blade that rotates at 200 mph, you don't want to take any chances. Still, your riding mower is equipped with high speeds for a reason, so don't feel like you can never use them; just use them at the appropriate time.
Up and Down
When you're mowing slopes, you should always move up and down the hill -- never across at an angle. Riding across can cause the mower to tip over. If your mower struggles to climb the slope, shift to a higher speed for a boost when you're at the bottom facing up. When you reach the top, shift back down to a slow speed and turn around/ Always go down the slope at a slow speed to avoid losing control of the mower.
Straightaways and Bends
When you're mowing a wide open space, like a field or big yard, don't feel tempted to mow at top speed: You can still lose control of the mower. Always mow straightaways at medium speed, and when you approach a turn, border, corner or obstacle, shift to a low speed. This is not only safer, but it also helps you achieve a more accurate trim and makes it less likely that you will have to repeat the same path.
No matter what speed you're moving at, you need to be on the lookout for safety hazards. The most apparent hazard involves pets and other people, particularly children, who don't always appreciate how dangerous a deck mower is. Always check for children and pets before making a turn or backing up. Check the yard before you begin mowing so you can avoid hitting any objects like toys, sticks, rocks or cans. Hitting an object like these is never ideal, but the danger increases when you are moving faster; it can make the mower tip over or even send the object shooting through the air like a projectile.
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