You always aim for a great-looking and well-groomed lawn, but it should not be done at the expense of compromising your health or safety. All slopes require extra caution. In fact, they are a major factor in tip over and loss-of-control accidents. Cease operation immediately if lawn mower stability is questionable, or if you are uncomfortable or unsure of continuing safely. A good rule of thumb is that if you cannot back up the slope or if you feel uneasy on it, do not mow it.
Lawn Mower Parts – Lawn Mowing Basics: Slope Do’s and Don’ts
1. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for wheel weights or counterweights to improve stability.
2. Mow up and down slopes, not across.
3. Make a survey of the terrain before mowing, taking special attention for holes, ruts or bumps. Uneven terrain could cause the mower to overturn. Tall grass can hide obstacles. Use a slow speed and shift into a lower gear before going on a slope; the gear should be low enough so that you do not have to stop or shift while on the slope.
4. Be extra cautious when using grass catchers or other attachments that can change the stability of the mower. Whenever possible, do not use attachements while mowing on very steep slopes or rough terrains. Empty grass catcher bags when they are only partially full.
5. Keep all movement on slopes slow and gradual. Avoid sudden changes in speed and direction.
6. Avoid starting or stopping on a slope. If tires lose traction, disengage the blades immediately and proceed slowly straight down the slope.
7. Do not turn on the slope unless unavoidable. If you are forced to make a turn, disengage the blades then turn slowly and gradually downhill.
8. Do not mow near drop-offs, ditches or embankments. A wheel going over the edge or an edge caving in could cause sudden overturn.
9. Do not mow when the grass is wet as water reduces traction and can cause sliding.
10. Never try to stabilize the mower by putting your foot on the ground.
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