Not all yards are created equal. While some are flat and predictable, others have their ups and downs—literally. Accidents occur on lawn mowers each year in the U.S., with many of those due to making wrong decisions when it comes to mowing on slopes. Here are a few things to remember when you have challenging hills to mow:
Spartan Mowers recommends that you are to never mow an incline that is greater than 15 degrees. To be on the safer side, anything over 10 degrees is cause to pause. Slope degree can be determined by the use of a slope gauge. There are even apps out there to help determine slope degree. An option to consider if you have an extreme slope to mow is to purchase our battery-powered push mower.
For slopes that are less than 15 degrees, mow up and down diagonally to prevent slipping and rolling over. The last thing you want to do when mowing DOWN a hill is to go straight down. The weight of the mower, plus the possibility of increased speed could cause trouble. If you must mow straight up and down (on slopes that are less than 15 degrees), only mow uphill, then turn off the blades and go back downhill at a safe, diagonal angle, then repeat. This will take more time, but it is much safer this way.
On models equipped with a rollover protection structure (ROPS), always keep it raised when using your mower as it's there to protect you. You also must wear your seatbelt. The ROPS can only do its job if you're secured in the driver's seat, so using the ROPS without a seatbelt does no good. If your Spartan does not have a ROPS and seat with a seatbelt, contact your local dealer for ordering information.
Even on a level yard, turning too fast can cause problems. First off, be sure to wear your seatbelt if you have one. Secondly, just slow the mow—ESPECIALLY on inclines. When you turn to go back downhill, really slow it down. When turning downhill, many times a huge difference can be made by choosing to turn left or right in order to obtain the best center of gravity. Going slow gives you a few more seconds to choose the safest direction.
It’s always a good idea before mowing any type of yard to remove obstacles. Even on a flat surface, anything that is in your path can not only damage the mower, but these obstacles can be thrown from the mowing deck, breaking windows, damaging cars—or even worse, injuring people. Needless to say, when you add an incline to the mix, anything that’s not supposed to be in your path, regardless of how small it is, can be disastrous.
Yes, a zero turn can certainly mow in wet conditions, but if at all possible, let the grass dry thoroughly before starting the engine. Wet grass changes the “mowing field” and can make those typically simple turns a slippery nightmare, especially when a slope is involved.
When mowing on slopes, be sure you have a clear view of everything you are mowing. Avoid shady areas, as well as mowing when it’s getting dark outside. You’re setting yourself up for failure if you're unable to maintain an unobstructed view of your yard.
If you have any questions when it comes to mowing safety, please contact a Spartan dealer near you! They not only can give you answers, but they also have valuable information in helping you choose the right mower for your specific yard. Check out our lineup online where you will find photos, videos, specs, and more. However, nothing beats seeing a Spartan Mower for yourself—test drive one TODAY!