The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) have teamed up with the Road Safety Authority (RSA) in a joint appeal to drivers of farm machinery and vulnerable road users to share the road safely.
The IFA has already made appeals to farm families in relation to road safety during the silage season and have now teamed up with the RSA to highlight the issue further.
In a recent statement, both organisations have stated that they want farming contractors to remember that, whilst the silage season is underway, roads are much busier with pedestrians and cyclists due to COVID-19 restrictions.
IFA president, Tim Cullinan, said: “Normally at this time of the year both the IFA and the RSA appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards, and while traffic volumes have reduced, this advice still stands.”
“However, we are making a special appeal this year in light of the current situation to ask that anyone driving farm machinery, especially on rural roads, to cut back on their speed and understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend out for a walk, jog or a cycle within 5km of their home.”
Cullinan continued to say that we should all expect the unexpected as we have learned already this year that there is no room for complacency.
Adding to the IFA president’s comments, Michael Rowland, RSA Director, advised: “We would remind every road user not to be distracted by wearing earphones while out walking or cycling and urge drivers not to use a mobile phone while driving tractors.”
“Such distractions can prevent those out walking from hearing danger approaching or prevent drivers from noticing the family out walking or cycling around that corner.”
Pedestrians are also being reminded of the rules of the road, including the use of a footpath where one is provided, walking on the right-hand side of the road, wearing high visibility clothing and assuming that they will encounter a vehicle, regardless of the current situation.
Drivers of agricultural vehicles are being reminded that they are subject to all road traffic legislation. They are required to carry the appropriate licence and farm vehicles are required to be taxed, insured and must be 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;
- Never remove or modify guards in order to save time;
- Only use machines if you know how to use them safely and have received suitable training;
- Always drive at a safe speed and know your limits.