The Road Safety Authority (RSA) and the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) are appealing to road users to take extra care as the number of tractors, trailers and other farm machinery using routes increases during silage season.

The appeal comes in the form of a joint statement from both parties as farmers and contractors around the country undertake the first cut of silage.

Michael Rowland, director of road safety research and driver education at the RSA, said: “This is a very busy time of year for farmers with silage cutting underway.

“There are more tractors and trailers out using the roads, which means the risk of a collision involving a road user and farm machinery has increased.

Motorists need to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards. We should all expect the unexpected, as danger could literally be around the next corner.

He went on to point out that drivers of agricultural vehicles were 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,” he added.

Separately, IFA president, Joe Healy, said: “I am appealing to everybody to be safety conscious during this busy period. If we cooperate, we can all share the roads.

“I would ask drivers of machinery to watch for traffic building up to the rear and to keep left if an opportunity arises to let traffic pass safely.

“For other road users, I would ask them to be patient and do not attempt to overtake unless it is safe to do so.”

Drivers of agricultural vehicles are reminded:
  • To wash down wheels regularly to avoid carrying mud and stones onto the public road;
  • To 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 overload trailers so as to cause them to be unstable on the road;
  • To 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 provide an adequate view of the road to the rear and all agricultural vehicles must have proper working brakes on both tractor and trailer units. They also must be fitted with lights, reflectors and indicators;
  • That large farming vehicles should consider using an escort vehicle to warn other road users; and
  • To ensure that tractors are driven at an appropriate speed for the road conditions.

For more information on legal requirements and road safety regarding agricultural vehicles using public roads, those interested can contact the RSA at: [email protected].