Drivers beware of farm machinery advises road safety officer

By Toni Bourke

Spring's arrival means farmers are heading to the fields to plant crops, spread fertiliser and carry out many more tasks which will see an increase in agricultural machinery on the roads.

Road safety officer for Mayo County Council Mr Noel Gibbons has sent an appeal to all road users to remember that farming is a job as well as a way of life.

“If farmers can't do their job producing food and sustaining the environment, we're all in trouble. We need to give them a break and exercise driving tolerance so they can move their machinery from field to field,” advised Mr Gibbons.

Seventy per cent of fatal collisions over the period 1996 to 2010 occurred on rural roads.

This latest road safety campaign is designed to remind people that a farm vehicle is part of a farmer's workplace. They want drivers to be respectful in allowing farmers to do their job. “Drivers' anxiety levels skyrocket when they get behind a tractor or combine. But keep in mind that equipment is likely not going too far, and will not hold you up for more than a few minutes,” advised Mr Gibbons.

The roads safety office of Mayo County Council is encouraging all motorists to be aware of farm equipment as they travel through rural areas this spring and all year long.

Mr Gibbons explained: “Rural road safety is an important issue year-round, but it is especially important at this time of year. Farmers will be out planting, and motorists must remain alert for large and often slow-moving equipment. Country roads are unpredictable and, therefore, present far more challenges to drivers. Country crashes often result in greater numbers of fatalities and injuries because vehicles are usually travelling at higher speeds.”

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