Mowing is a pretty fun thing but can become pretty frustrating if your garden is not leveled. This is a situation where you will benefit a lot from a zero-turn mower. It is very swift and you can easily maneuver it around objects. But the concern for most people is about safety and the dangers of zero turn mowerson hills.
When it comes to hilly terrain, a zero-turn mower is a really solid option but there are some risks that you should be aware of. If you compare a zero-turn mower with your standard lawn mower, then it is a big upgrade but it is necessary to know everything about this new machinery.
What are the Zero Turn Mowers?
It is necessary to first inform you about what actually is a zero-turn mower. It is a ride-on mower with the ability to make a 180-degree turn. Unlike other lawn mowers where you require a lot of space for turning, a zero-turn lawn mower makes it really easy. These turn mowers are quite agile as well and work best where tight turns are a necessity. This is what makes zero-turn mowers good on hills.
This riding mower lacks a steering wheel & you use two levers to control it. Moving the lever forward, accelerates it while moving the lever back reverses the mower. But if you like to put extra attachments on your mower then turn mowers aren’t great for that. If you own a lawn that is big, and well decorated, then you will be better suited with a zero-turn lawn mower.
Why is a Dangerous on a Hill?
Zero Turn Lawn Mowers are highly regarded due to their ease of maneuverability and high speed. Zero-turn mowers are so viable due to their unique design. But nothing is perfect and these turn lawnmowers also come with their own flaws.
Slopes are not very good for zero-turn mowers and are only good for a 15-degree slope. Most zero-turn mowers don’t have good traction with the ground due to their design. Therefore, when going uphill and even a slight left or right movement can cause the mower to slide. You should only turn zero-turn mowers when on a flat surface.
You won’t find a disc braking system in zero-turn mowers as they come with drum brakes present on the rear axle. These brakes are not instantaneous like disc brakes. As front wheels don’t have disc brakes, these zero-turn mowers are more prone to toppling than regular mowers.
When zero-turn mowers became popular, most of the injuries were due to the blades and there were some fatal results. But with newer technology, the blades stop once the rider releases the handle.
If you are not careful when controlling a turn mower, you can also accidentally run over people. The main cause behind this problem is the ability of zero-turn mowers to reverse.
Here’s How to Safely Use a Zero Turn Lawn Mower – Best Safety Manual You Can Follow
Some of the best approaches to safely using a zero-turn mower are as under:
Side to Side Mowing
Side-to-side mowing is the best approach to use on hills. This will provide you with more control of the mower on a hill. These riding mowers are hard to control when going left or right, therefore, a side-to-side movement is the most optimal approach.
Front End Should be Uphill
You should always make sure that the front end should be uphill and extends above the rear end. You should always keep this in mind otherwise most zero-turn mowers will start to skid down the hill.
Start from the Bottom
When mowing on a hill, it is best to start mowing from the bottom. This is useful because it will provide you with a lot more control and traction. It is best to start from the bottom along a horizontal and then slowly move your way up.
Going Uphill at Each Pass
Following on the logic of keeping your front end higher than the rear, you should also go uphill when you reach the pass. Going downhill can result in you losing control.
Avoid Losing Traction
At first, you should avoid losing traction. But if somehow you lose control of the mower, don’t accelerate. This will not make the situation any better and might even worsen the situation.
Using a Mower with ROPS
Due to the dangers of zero-turn mowers on hills, most of them are fitted with a rollover protection system. The manufacturer can also install this system for you if it isn’t already present.
Don’t Drive Fast
While zero-turn mowers are really fast, you should absolutely avoid going too fast on your mower. You can easily lose control of the mower when driving at high speed.
Reading the Manual
It is important to know all of the functionality and features of the mower. If you are familiar with your mower, then it will help you in reacting better to a dangerous situation.
Use Big Tires
If your mower doesn’t come with big tires, you should get them fitted. With bigger rear wheels and front wheels, you get more stability due to higher traction.
Take Care of the Blades
When mowing on the hill, you should always make sure to take care of the blades. If you feel something is off then stop and assess the situation. The blades can easily break due to obstacles.
Dangers of zero turn mowerson hills
There are a lot of times when using a zero-turn mower on hills is a terrible idea. There are only two conditions in which you have to avoid using the zero-turn mower on a hill:
If there are Steep Slopes
You should totally avoid using a zero-turn mower when you see a steep slope. It is not a good choice when it comes to high slopes and there is a high chance of the mower toppling over. You should use a push mower on a steep hill. Using a push mower instead of the zero-turn mower is a better option in this case.
If Grass is Wet
You need a lot of traction in a zero-turn mower to move properly and avoid any mishaps. But if the grass is wet, they struggle to get a good grip on the ground, and thus you can completely lose control of them. Rear brakes also don’t work very well on a wet surface, so when you start skidding down a hill, it is nearly impossible to control the mower.
Necessary Features in a Zero Turn Mower
Safety is the most important thing when it comes to a zero-turn lawn mower and any lawn tractors. A lot of manufacturers are now incorporating a lot of useful features in their mowers that make them really safe and those features are as under:
A Deadman’s Switch
This is one of the most useful features of a push mower. Basically, it stops the mower blades if the rider falls from the seat and the rotating blades are stopped automatically. This is really useful when the driver loses control of the mower.
You will also find different warning labels on all the moving parts of a turn mower. In this way, you can avoid contact with all those dangerous parts.
There is also a safety shield present in the discharge tube. It is a really good addition that blocks any debris from going into the air.
Things that You Should Check Before Mowing
There are dangers of zero-turn mowerson hills, which is why it is necessary to check a few things before you start mowing your lawn.
- Remove any obstacles from the lawn such as rocks, sticks, etc
- There shouldn’t be any pets or people in the area
- Make sure that the ROPS bar is upright
- Check the seatbelt
- Check the blades for any damage
After you have done the following inspection, you can start to mow your lawn. These precautions will help you in avoiding any mishaps.
Busting Out the Myth – FAQs:
Should You Use Your Zero Turn Mower on a Hilly Terrain?
Yes, it works really well on hilly terrain. However, be careful of going on too steep of a surface as it can tip over the mower.
Is the Toro Timecutter good on the hills?
With its 24.5 horsepower engine, the Toro Timecutter performs excellently on hills. It can handle an incline of 15 degrees and provides you with really good mowing.
What do I do if my hill is steep to mow?
You can use a push mower to mow steep areas as it can handle inclines of 20 degrees.
How steep is too steep for a riding mower?
A riding mower is good for 15-degree slopes and not more than that. Any more will cause the mower to lose traction and topple.
Why is my zero-turn tearing up grass?
If the mower wheel is locking then it can tear up the grass. In order to avoid this problem, make sure to lower your speed while turning.
Are ride-on lawn mowers safe on hills?
Yes, ride-on lawn mowers are safe on the hill if you keep to a low speed, mow side to side, wear a seatbelt, and don’t go on a very steep incline.
Zero-turn mowers are essential when you have an uneven surface. Their ability to turn 180 degrees, makes zero-turn mowers good and viable. But they also come with their own caveats as well. Riding a zero-turn mower on hills is dangerous and therefore, you should always ensure the presence of the safety features mentioned above. In the end, zero-turn mowers are the optimal choice for a hilly area as long as you’re then recommended precautions.
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Hello! I’m Jessica Zander, a garden coach and consultant based in the Boston area (zone 6b), offering virtual consultations across the country and Canada.
I’ve been passionate about gardening since the early 1990s, and in 2022, I launched You Can Do It Gardening to empower individuals to feel more confident in their gardening endeavors.
Following a 30-year career in nonprofit finance and operations, I transitioned out of that field in mid-June of 2023 due to the growing demand for coaching services. Interestingly, my years of presenting financial statements to boards and finance committees proved to be valuable experience for teaching people about gardening! I enjoy sharing skills, providing guidance and suggestions, and collaborating efficiently with clients to make significant improvements to their outdoor spaces, both small and large. I also regularly teach at the Arlington Continuing Education and Cambridge Adult Education.
My approach is direct and practical, akin to Mary Poppins, but tailored to your garden. Clients find satisfaction in saving money and taking pride in their own gardening achievements.