Something that should be kept at a high standard in our lives apart from the workplace is safety.
Things that we do for fun, including our RC hobby, can sometimes cause injuries. There is nothing worse than ending a day of enjoying a hobby that should be fun with a trip to the doc.
Safety is your personal responsibility.
I have compiled a short list of things to consider before running or working on your vehicle with the hope that it will be used to prevent injuries or worse. It only takes a few minutes to ensure a safe, fun R/C session.
1. Keep Area Clear of Living Things
It’s easy to fire up or turn on the your RC vehicle and take it for a quick rip through the yard.
Can you imagine the possibly irreversible damage that a weighty hunk of aluminum and plastic could do to someone’s ankle, torso, or head? Family pets could also be severely injured or worse in a collision with an R/C car or truck. Yes, they are a hobby and most of us drive them with respect to our surroundings, but things happen, throttles stick, stuff breaks… you know how it goes. If you have a pet, it would also be a great idea to get the little guy out of the area.
It only takes a few minutes to ensure the area is clear, and that few minutes could potentially prevent an injury or worse.
2. Let Others Know What You Are Doing
Communication is key to safety. Every person on the property should be notified that you are taking the radio controlled truck or car out for a run. To make things simple, you could arrange a short family meeting and to go through a quick rundown of what that looks like before implementing this step. Just simply explain to them that safety is a concern of yours and you want everyone to know the dangers that exist and keep them safe. Tell them the guidelines and boundaries that they need to keep while the vehicle is being ran. In the future, because you have had this conversation in the past, all you will really need to say for them to understand would be a quick sentence. For instance, you could say “RC time, okay guys?” By doing this simple communication exercise, everyone knows to look both ways when walking out of the house, or staying clear of an area.
3. Roadway Dangers / Accidents
If you live by or are planning on driving your R/C vehicle near a street, it may be good to have a spotter. It is very hard to watch our surroundings when driving radio controlled cars and trucks. By having someone spot you, it will provide a safe environment for motorists, and at the same time, you will be able to enjoy the thrill of driving more without constantly monitoring the area by yourself.
Most of the time you can hear vehicles approaching, but what if a Tesla is rolling up? 😉
It also is a good idea to keep your RC driving path away from parked cars and trucks because one little slip could leave a costly dent, or spraying gravel could damage a vehicle.
4. Noise From Nitro / Gas Vehicles
Nitro and Gas RC cars and trucks are, without a doubt, a blast to drive. They could also blast your hearing.
It may not be a concern too much when they are out at a distance from you a little bit, but when you are tuning them, or firing them up, the ear-damaging noise levels could be quite high.
A normal conversation is around 60 dB, and extended exposure to noise levels of 85 dB or above could cause permanent, irreversible damage. Note: We will do a follow up post on this once we can borrow our church sound guy’s decibel meter.
5. Cutting Stuff
We all use razor blades in our hobby… a lot! How many times have you cut yourself working on RC cars and trucks? I know that I personally have had some pretty nasty ones, and have been very lucky a lot of times as well. It only takes a moment to slip on some cut-resistant gloves before beginning your work. It might seem lame or not manly to do that, but going to the ER to get stitches doesn’t seem like a lot of fun either.
Protect your hands, they work AND provide for you.
6. Eye Protection
Eye protection is extremely overlooked in our hobby. In the shop we may use grinders, drills, hand tools, compressed air and other things that could send debris flying. Grab a pair of safety glasses and put them to use. Make it a habit to always wear your eye protection, and one day you could be grateful you had it on. Also, it never hurts to share this message with your fellow RC hobbyists when you see them working on something with exposed eyeballs.
From an equipment perspective, no RC car or truck should be without a fail-safe device.
Most electric radio controlled cars and trucks have built-in fail-safes in their ESCs, but nitro R/Cs may not come with them. Nitro and gas RCs need to have both a mechanical AND electrical fail-safe. If you are unsure on what you need to operate your vehicle safely, give us a call at 877.505.5303 and we will be happy to help you sort it out.
So there you have it – seven items to review and implement in your daily RC adventures. I hope that you take all of these things into consideration before your next R/C running, racing, or maintenance session.
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