Because this is a relatively new product, it is important to understand how it works and the risks that it carries. These hoverboard safety tips are therefore a good starting point for any buyer or user. It is also very important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions when operating this product including the electric voltage to be used; the charging outlets; and weight restrictions.
Fire Risks and Consequences
There have been reports in the UK and USA of hoverboards burning up when being charged. A family in Louisiana lived to regret the day they bought a hoverboard for their 12 year old son. It blew up while he was charging it and eventually the entire family property was burnt down. An Alabama man, Timothy Cade, nearly got burnt when his hoverboard exploded right underneath him as he was riding it. Jay Whitacre of the Carnegie Mellon University has suggested that the problem is not with the design of the hoverboard but the fact that people use poor quality lithium-ion batteries which are not fire-safe.
Road Accidents and Incidents
Normally hoverboards are ridden on the sidewalk away from the main road in order to minimize the possibility of accidents. However it is always a risk riding what is effectively a single axle scooter and relying on momentum whilst on busy roads. One of the most important hoverboard safety tips is to ride in quiet residential areas and never off the side walk. Even then there is a risk of running into members of the public and causing serious injury.
Weight and Height Restrictions
Each brand has a categorization that places specific restrictions on users in order to minimize accidents. Once a steep of 30 degrees up or down is achieved, most of these hoverboards will no longer operate. However there are no height restrictions so far. Nevertheless tall people should watch out for oncoming obstacles because hoverboards can achieve very high speeds. Here is a selection of brands and their specifications: In terms of the Minimum/Maximum weights the IO Hawk is 20/127kg; Phunkeeduck is 20/136kg; Monorover is 0/113kg; R2DSwagway is 19/99kg; and Powerboard is 20/99kg. Do not use hoverboards if you fall outside these limits.
Pregnant Women, the Elderly and Young Children
Powerboard explicitly forbids children under 13 years of age from riding the product. Pregnant women and the elderly are also not advised to use this product because of the heightened risk of falling. The maximum speeds for hoverboards are as follows: IO Hawk (6.2 mph); Phunkeeduck (12mph); Monorover (9.5mph); R2DSwagway (10 mph); and Powerboard (6.5 mph). These are not speeds you should be travelling at unless you are in perfect physical condition.
General Hoverboard Safety Tips
v Do not buy from informal sources such as second hand shops, kiosks or unofficial websites
v Avoid charging your hoverboard overnight and only charge it in an open/dry area
v Do not charge the product immediately after riding or near combustible materials
v Always leave the hoverboard partly charged when not in use
v Wear safety gear when riding and do not ride in places with vehicle traffic