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Dos and don’ts of tractor driving: Staying safe

In this article, farmer, Scott Price, provides readers with some top tips for staying safe when driving your tractor on the roads.

Even if you have gained vast experience using a tractor throughout your career in agriculture, it is always useful to keep up to date with the latest safety recommendations and advice.

In this news article, I will run through some top tips to keep you safe on the road whilst operating a tractor.

Pre-driving checks

Before heading out onto the roads, it is imperative that you carry out some checks to ensure your tractor is safe, and you’re fully equipped to drive it.

When it comes to the machinery, you will usually be able to spot any issues by walking around it, but there are a few things you should specifically be checking for.

Things like low tire pressure, loose nuts, and unsecure stabiliser chains can all impact your safety out on the road.

It is especially important to carry out thorough checks if the tractor hasn’t been in operation for some time.

As a driver, you should always wear suitable clothing which is unlikely to snag in the machinery.

It is also advisable to wear safety boots that will protect your feet and provide extra grip when using the pedals. Make sure that anyone using the tractor has been fully trained and is competent with handling the controls independently.

Be aware of the dangers

There are potential dangers associated with driving any type of vehicle that can make it more difficult to remain in control, but these dangers can be heightened when operating heavy machinery like a tractor.

One of the biggest causes of tractor-related fatalities is due to vehicles overturning. Steep inclines, driving too quickly or too close to ditches and turning too sharply can all cause a tractor to overturn.

The most important aspects of driving a tractor safely are watching your speed and keeping an eye on your surroundings at all times. This will help to reduce serious injuries and deaths occurring as a result of agricultural activity.

On top of the external factors, it is also important to control the internal aspects that can make driving more dangerous.

For example, feeling tired whilst behind the wheel can have major impacts on our decision-making capabilities, and ultimately our ability to stay safe.

Understanding how to deal with driver fatigue is crucial to help you stay in control whenever you get behind the wheel.

Visibility is key

Loads, inclement weather, dirty windows, and equipment can all affect a driver’s visibility on the road.

Particularly if you are reversing, it is always best to ask for help to prevent an accident from occurring.

Otherwise, be sure to always use any reversing aids that are installed within your tractor, and it is also best to use your horn to make other drivers aware of your behaviour.

On the roads

Driving a tractor on the road should be relatively straightforward, as long as you follow a few simple safety guidelines.

First and foremost, always remember that a tractor is a slow-moving vehicle. That means you will need to give yourself plenty of time to brake and turn, and you will need to be extra cautious when passing other vehicles.

You should also make sure that your tractor is properly lit; in addition to headlights, tractors must have red taillights and reflectors.

These safety features should all be part of your pre-journey checks, so you can be reassured that your tractor works as it should every time you need it.

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