The word hoverboard might have some Back to the Future fans picturing Marty McFly zipping through town on a levitating device. While this fictional option is impressive, the real-life version is a self-balancing scooter that makes it simple and fun to get from point A to point B.
These gyroscopic boards that are driven by shifting your weight to cause directional and speed changes were a hot item on everyone’s Christmas list back in 2015, until a series of recalls due to fire hazards made consumers think twice about adding one to their collection.
In 2015 and 2016, there were dozens of fire investigations across the country due to hoverboard fires. Experts discovered that the lithium-ion battery packs inside the device were overheating, leading to smoke, fires, and sometimes explosions.
In February of 2016, a million-dollar home burned down in Nashville, and a mother and her four children just escaped the blaze. In March of 2017, a hoverboard fire in Pennsylvania resulted in the death of a 3-year old girl.
There have been over 500,000 hoverboards recalled from the marketplace as changes have been made to the product safety standards.
These changes occurred in May of 2016 when a series of rigorous safety standards were introduced for personal e-mobility devices. These standards provide a certification and a product seal that will help you determine which hoverboards are safe to purchase for you and your family.
Here’s what you need to know about the new requirements.
Hoverboard Safety Certificate
The federal standard for safety in both the US and Canada is the UL 2272 Certification. These stringent requirements set forth by the government ensure that hoverboards on the market won’t be hazardous to users.
Among the potential problems that the certificate protects against are:
- Shock Hazards
- Appropriate battery usage
Even if your hoverboard meets the UL 2272 Certification standards, it’s still important to keep an eye on your device when it’s charging. You should be protected against battery fires, but you can never be too safe.
Other Hoverboard Safety Tips
- Follow manufacturer recommended guidelines for safety
- Wear safety gear, including knee pads, elbow pads, and a helmet when riding your board.
- Calibrate your hoverboard before stepping on for your first ride.
- Use a spotter the first few times you attempt to mount and dismount your new hoverboard.
- Stand with your feet an appropriate distance apart, and your weight balanced evenly. This might take some practice to get it just right.
- Practice safe dismounts by stepping backward off your hoverboard.
- Use caution when riding at night
- If you’re riding your hoverboard outdoors at night, wear light-colored clothing and reflective materials.
- Consider wearing a headlamp to illuminate your path, and rear lights or reflectors to make you visible to other motorists.
- If possible, travel in a group so that you have safety in numbers.
- Use your hoverboard how it was meant to be used
- These transportation devices are designed to travel on smooth, even surfaces. Don’t take your hoverboard off-roading on uneven terrain.
- Your personal e-Mobility device also isn’t a skateboard. It’s not meant to be used for stunts off curbs or rails, and a hard crash or fall could damage your battery and compromise the fire safety of your board.
- Do not charge your hoverboard near flammable materials
- Following the recommended charging time in the instructions that come with your hoverboard. Avoid overcharging your device as that may cause a safety hazard.
- Along these same lines, don’t charge your hoverboard overnight. This will likely be far too long of a load time and could cause issues while you’re asleep.
- Monitor your hoverboard while it’s charging so that you find out about any issue that arises immediately and can prevent a larger incident.
- If you do have a fire-related incident, call 911 immediately. Chemical fires caused by batteries may need to be extinguished differently than a traditional fire, so don’t use a fire extinguisher until you speak with a professional.
Utilizing Product Recalls
If you have an old device, be sure to take advantage of the product recall. This is the best way to ensure that your hoverboard meets all the most current safety standards, and it’s totally free.
In the US Consumer Product Safety Commission directive, you are entitled to a refund, replacement, or a repair of your old device depending on the manufacturer if you meet the criteria.
Here you can find all the details of the recall notice, and instructions on who to call to start the process of getting your hoverboard up to standards.
Hoverboards are a lot of fun to ride once you get the hang of them. Whether you’re using them with the family to tour around the neighborhood, or they are how you commute to work, they let you experience the outdoors in a unique way.
If you’re going to invest in a personal e-Mobility device, make sure that you choose one that adheres to the most current safety standards available. Purchasing a certified device will both protect you against fire hazards, and give you confidence in the quality of your new ride.