Motorists and tractor / agricultural machinery operators alike need to be extra vigilant when using rural roads at this busy time in the farming year, according to the Office of Emergency Planning (OEP).

Taking to social media earlier today, Thursday, August 6, the OEP said:

“At this time of year, there will be an increase in the number of agricultural vehicles using the road.

If stuck behind a tractor, be patient and don’t be tempted into any foolish or rash overtaking.

“Always be on the look-out for farm machinery leaving fields and farmyards.

“Farmers need to be safety-conscious too,” it was added.

“If the traffic is building up behind, keep left where safe to allow others to pass safely,” the office warned.

The OEP also reminded drivers of agricultural vehicles to be mindful of the following:
  • Wash down wheels regularly to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the public road;
  • Be particularly careful when transporting material such as silage, slurry, sand and gravel so that it does not spill on the road and pose a road safety risk;
  • Not to load/overload trailer so as to cause them to be unstable on the road;
  • Look out for low bridges, overhanging trees, overhead cables and uneven road surfaces which could cause the load to shift and possibly overturn;
  • The driving mirror must always provide an adequate view of the road and all agricultural vehicles must have proper working brakes on both tractor and trailer units. All vehicles must be fitted with lights, reflectors and indicators; and
  • Large farming vehicles should consider using an escort vehicle to warn other road users and ensure that tractors are driven at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.

Turning to road safety in general during the summer time, the OEP said: “Unfortunately, there is a spike in pedestrian, cyclist and motorcyclist casualties over the summer.

“The fine weather brings more people out and about. As drivers, we need to be on the lookout for them. Slow down and expect the unexpected,” the office concluded.