Many landscape professionals and homeowners prefer the Toro Zero Turn - or "Z" - mowers for their efficiency and manoeuvrability. But mowing too close to sudden drop-offs, steep inclines, retaining walls, or unstable ground surrounding ponds and drainage ditches can cause loss of traction and control. Making these choices can result in serious injuries or fatalities.

Read the material on this page to find out if you're "Driving in the Safety Zone". Click here to review Zero Turn Operator Training Material.

Driving in the Safety Zone

"Driving in the Safety Zone" means making choices that keep you out of high-risk situations and hazards, like steep slopes or sudden drop-offs near water. Stay off hills or surfaces with a slope greater than 15 degrees.

15 Degrees
Safety Zone

Maintain areas close to water with a hand trimmer or walk mower.

Avoid driving your Z mower too close to water. There may be drop-offs, the surrounding grass can be wet or slippery, or the ground might be muddy and unstable.

Push Mower

Give yourself plenty of clearance

It's tempting to get as close to water or edges as you can to eliminate a little hand work. But don't sacrifice safety in the interest of saving a little time or effort. Give yourself plenty of clearance. Maintain a distance of at least two mower widths.

Two Widths

Zero Turn Safety Basics

  • Read and follow directions in operator’s manual and safety decals
  • Do not operate the machine without guards, shields and safety devices in place and working properly
  • Wear protective equipment as required in operator’s manual
  • Use care when approaching blind corners, shrubs, trees or other objects that may obscure vision
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol
  • Do not mow slopes when grass is wet
No Drugs

Keep movements deliberate and steady.

Zero Turn mowers operate differently than traditional garden tractors. They're manoeuvred with control levers rather than steering wheels. They're fast, and they can turn on a dime - that's why they're so popular. In the interest of safety, keep your speed under control and operate the control levers with smooth, even pressure.


Manoeuvring Hills

Depending on the surroundings, you may feel more comfortable mowing from side to side or up and down a hill. But in either case, hills can cause loss of traction. Never drive your Zero Turn mower on any slopes greater than 15 degrees. Keep movements deliberate and steady. Don't make sudden changes in speed or direction.

Vertical Hill
Horizon Hill

Retaining Walls and Drop-offs

Retaining walls and drop-offs around steps or ramps are a common hazard. Give yourself plenty of clearance. Hand-trim the edges with a walk-behind mower or string trimmer.


Avoiding Tip-overs

If your Toro Zero Turn mower is equipped with a rollover protection system (ROPS) always keep the rollbar in the fully raised and locked position and use the seatbelt. Only lower the rollbar when absolutely necessary. There is no protection when the ROPS bar is in the folded position.

No Rollover

Zero Turn Safety Brochure

Download the Zero Turn Mower safety brochure.