Gardaí in Co. Donegal have appealed to farmers and road users to take care, with an increase in the volume of agricultural vehicles on the roads at this time of year.
In a post on Facebook, Gardaí asked drivers to be patient and avoid the temptation to overtake if driving behind a tractor or a slow-moving vehicle. They also reminded people to pay attention to concealed entrances and be on the look out for farm machinery exiting fields or yards.
In the post, Gardaí also appealed to farmers, issuing a number of reminders, including to never use a mobile phone when driving farm machinery on public roads. The post read:
“Farmers need to be safety conscious too. If you become aware that the traffic is building up behind you, keep left when safe to do so in order to allow others to pass safely.”
It also urged farmers to take responsibility and protect the roads themselves, by washing down all wheels regularly to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the road that may become hazards.
As well as this, farmers should be careful when transporting materials such as silage, slurry, sand and gravel, so that it doesn’t spill onto the road, and trailers should not be overloaded as they can easily become unstable if so.
The machinery itself, which must be fitted with lights, reflectors and indicators, should be serviced regularly to ensure it is roadworthy, particularly if it has not been used for some time. The post also suggested that farmers consider an escort vehicle for larger farm machinery.
Gardaí also appealed to the general public including relatives of farmers, to take care when visiting farm environments, as they may not be familiar with the hazards there and said “children should always be supervised on farms”.
The warnings come following a number of road incidents involving tractors and farm machinery in the past month.
On Sunday (May 15), the driver of a tractor was taken to University Hospital Limerick for treatment after he struck a pole while driving on the Loop Head Peninsula near Kilkee. While earlier in the month, on May 5, a teenager was killed in a road traffic accident when the tractor he was driving left the road and entered a deep drain near Clonmore in Co. Offaly.