The Road Safety Authority (RSA ) and the Irish Farmers Association (IFA ) are urging road users to take extra care as the number of tractors, trailers and other farm machinery using the roads increases over the summer months.
Advising road users, Mr Noel Brett, CEO, Road Safety Authority, said: “This is a busy time of year for farmers as it coincides with silage cutting season. All road users are being advised to watch out for tractors, trailers and other farm machinery exiting from fields and farm yards and to exercise caution when travelling behind or meeting such vehicles on the road. When using roads, especially in rural areas, only overtake farm machinery when it’s safe to do so and 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, IFA President Padraig Walshe 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.”
Mr Brett also urged farmers to ensure “that the drivers you 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.”
He added: “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 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.”
Drivers of agricultural tractors and trailers are reminded to ensure that wheels are regularly washed down to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the public road. Be particularly careful when transporting material such as silage, slurry, sand and gravel so that it does not spill on the road and pose a road safety risk.
For large farming vehicles consider using an escort vehicle to warn other road users and ensure that tractors are driven at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.
For more information on legal requirements and road safety regarding agricultural vehicles using the public road please contact the RSA at [email protected] or view the rules of the road at www.rotr.ie