The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) have urged road users to take extra care as the number of tractors, trailers and other farm machinery on the roads increases over the summer months.
The appeal comes as many farmers around the country are in the middle of the silage cutting season.
Ms Moyagh Murdock, Chief Executive, RSA said: “This is a very busy time of year for farmers, with silage cutting already underway. The number of tractors and trailers out using the roads will increase dramatically. As a result the risk of a collision involving a road user and farm machinery has increased. As such I am asking all drivers to be on the look out for tractors, trailers and other farm machinery exiting from fields and farm yards. If you are travelling behind farm machinery, please be patient and only over take when it’s safe to do so. We should all expect the unexpected, as danger could literally be around the next corner.”
Drivers of agricultural vehicles are being reminded that they are covered by road traffic laws on driver licensing, insurance, standards in relation to vehicle roadworthiness, vehicle lighting and motor tax.
Advising farmers, Joe Healy, President, IFA, said: “I am asking farmers to be safety conscious whenever bringing a farm vehicle onto the public road. Farmers should be aware of traffic building up behind them and keep left where possible to allow other vehicles pass safely. I would appeal to other road users to show patience when encountering farm machinery on the road. With understanding on both sides, the roads can be safer for everybody.”
The RSA and the IFA have the following advice for drivers of agricultural tractors and trailers;
· Ensure that wheels are regularly washed down to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the public road.
· Ensure that loads are properly secured (using an appropriate restraint method) and be aware of low bridges and overhead power lines.
· For large farming vehicles, consideration should be given to using an escort vehicle to warn other road users and ensure that tractors are driven at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.
· Your driving mirror must provide an adequate view of the road to the rear and all agricultural vehicles must have proper working brakes on both tractor and trailer units. They must also be fitted with lights, reflectors and indicators.
· Don’t load the trailer in such a way that it would make it unstable on the road, and beware of low bridges, overhanging trees, overhead cables and uneven road surfaces which could cause the load to shift and possibly overturn.
Farmers are also urged to ensure that the drivers they use are competent and do not carry a passenger unless the tractor is equipped to carry one. The trailer should not be used for transporting people unless it has provision for carrying them.