The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have appealed to drivers of farming machinery and other road users to share the road safely.
Their appeal comes as an easing of national travel restrictions has resulted in increased traffic volumes on roads.
They said there are more people out walking, cycling, and riding horses on the public road at this time of year, and these activities have also become more popular during the current pandemic.
Both organisations want farming contractors and other drivers to remember this and to always be on the lookout for such vulnerable road users.
IFA president, Tim Cullinan, said it will be a busy time on farms in the coming weeks as farming contractors bring in silage around the country.
Both the IFA and the RSA are renewing its annual appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards.
“We are also asking anyone driving farm machinery, especially on rural roads, to cut back on their speed, not to get distracted and understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend out for a walk, a cycle, or maybe riding a horse.”
“We all need to expect the unexpected because the road has become an ever-changing environment since the pandemic began.”
‘Drivers may be rusty’
Mr. Sam Waide, Chief Executive, of the Road Safety Authority, said, “This is a very busy time of year for farmers.”
“The number of tractors and trailers out using the roads will increase dramatically. I am asking all drivers to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other farm machinery on the road.”
“If you are travelling behind farm machinery, please be patient and only overtake when it’s safe to do so”.
He said farmers should be aware of traffic building up behind them and keep left where possible and safe to do so to allow other vehicles to pass safely.
“Travel restrictions have only recently lifted. Drivers may be rusty because they haven’t driven much in recent months.”
“It is important that drivers recognise this, pay extra attention to the road and always be on the lookout for other road users.”
Road traffic legislation
The body has reminded operators of agricultural vehicles that they are subject to all road traffic legislation.
They are required to:
- Carry the appropriate licence;
- Tax and insure farm vehicles;
- Ensure vehicles are roadworthy, including fully operational lights front and rear.
Farmers are also being reminded of the following safety tips:
- Plan and prepare for all work with machinery. Always allow adequate time for the job;
- Always practice the SAFE STOP procedure. Reverse park safely, handbrake on, controls in neutral, lower all attachments, engine off and remove keys;
- Carry out regular checks and maintenance of all farm vehicles, particularly brakes;
- Also, never remove or modify guards to save time;
- Only use machines if you know how to use them safely and have received suitable training;
- Lastly, always drive at a safe speed and know your limits.