^ KEEP THAT IN MIND. ^
Bobcats are fun. Too much fun for n00bs. Too much fun in even a small piece of construction equipment can lead to Bad Things. Go back and follow danceswithcats advice. Twice. Do it yet again, every time you get back in the cab.
Seriously, refamiliarize yourself every time - read the decals, they’re there for a reason - people pay in blood to get those stickers put in place. Gently work the controls until you’ve got your mind fully in-sync with what the machine is doing. Then go back to work. Old hands may pop into one and take off, but you’re not an old hand, and you’re not going to be one before the job is done. Cock-sureness will cause grief.
RESIST THE URGE TO HOT-DOG.
You will very quickly find some level of confidence - this is normal. Bobcats are easy to learn. When you’re just begining to get confident, is when you’re most dangerous to yourself and everything around you. Don’t show off. People will be more impressed with a well-done, accident-free job. Showing off will only scare and irritate people, and convince your wife that her worries were fully justified.
If the machine starts to ‘buck,’ STOP what you’re doing. Do not try to correct the bucking - what’s happened is that you’ve gotten behind the action-reaction curve, and instead of correcting the problem, your control inputs are increasing the problem. Center the joystick controllers, and let the machine stop bouncing. Collect your thoughts, and start again, more slowly. the fastest way to start an out-of-control ‘buck’ is by too-rapid control input. If you simply stop, the machine will also stop.
LOOK WHERE YOU ARE GOING.
Especially when backing up. Visibility is different than you’re used to. Don’t get tunnel vision, and PAY ATTENTION TO YOU SURROUNDINGS.
Enjoy operating the equipment. Bobcats are fun, even if you follow my old-fogey advice. Better the fun be tempered with satisfaction of a job well-done, than by an “Ah, Shit!” Do it right, and you can strut your stuff and play “Mr. Studley” all you like, afterwards, with the job done and no accidents.
Good luck, and have fun!
Oh, and WEAR YOUR SAFETY HARNESS!
It’s there for a reason. You’ll really want it, if the machine starts to buck!