It's tempting to let your lawn turn into a wilderness refuge, with tall grass to hide you from the rest of civilization. Alas, your neighbors are probably not thrilled with the idea of your home slipping into a sea of overgrowth -- thus, the lawnmower is a necessity.
Lawnmowers are anything but benign tools, however. In 2010, they accounted for more than a quarter of a million injuries in the U.S. alone. In extreme cases, mower-related accidents mean awful wounds that result in amputations or even death [source: WebMD].
Don't let children younger than age 12 mow the yard, and for the love of all that's precious in the universe, don't put your toddler on your lap while you're on a riding model. Keep kids, adults and pets well away from a mower that's in operation to prevent injuries from flying debris.
Wear long pants and real shoes. Shorts and sandals offer almost no buffer from danger. Wear eye protection, too. No matter how cautious you may be, lawnmowers are by nature machines of destruction, and there's no way to fully control objects that can be thrown into the air at high velocity.
Riding mowers are a lot more fun than most push mowers, but they're also susceptible to tipping over on slopes. Engage your brain on hills; a heavy tractor with whirling ninja blades on the bottom spells all sorts of trouble if you happen to tip.
Finally, take your time. Rushing through a mowing job means poor decision making and unsafe shortcuts. Give yourself time to do the job right, and your lawn will wind up tidy without anyone getting hurt.