Do farmers have to pull over to let traffic pass?

Traffic tailbacks behind tractors during the summer months can be common place across the country.

The issue can be one of the greatest areas of friction between the farming and non-farming community. From a farmer’s point of view driving on the road with a tractor is sometimes a necessary part of the job and they they feel they’re as much entitled as anybody else to use the road.

However, for those from a non-farming background, being stuck in a traffic jam caused by a slow moving tractor can be hugely frustrating. They would argue that farmers should pull in much more regularly.

What are the rules?

Interestingly, the Road Safety Authority has no specific rules in this area.

Clearly farmers have to follow the rules of the road while driving, it says but there is no specific rule or law which states that they must pull in and let traffic pass.

The Gardai say whilst there is no legal obligation on a driver of a slow moving vehicle, i.e. a tractor to pull in, page 207 of the rules of the road suggests “you should keep left to allow faster traffic pass”.

When driving the tractor, do you pull in to let traffic pass?

  • Only if it there is room to pull in and the tail back is at least 5 cars (56%)
  • Yes, always (32%)
  • No, it's up to other drivers to pass out when it's safe to do so (12%)

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Consideration for others key

A tractor driver in Co. Mayo last year was fined €300 and banned from driving for a year for causing an excessive tailback.

The driver in question caused a 7km tailback on a national primary road, involving 80-100 vehicles – including a member of the Gardai!

Judge Devins commented that everybody has to exercise a little consideration on the road. She added that the evidence of Garda Boyle about having to pass 80-100 vehicles was most dramatic in nature.

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