Vigilance ‘vital’ for tractor drivers on motorways

Tractor drivers who are travelling on motorways have been urged to stay vigilant and be aware of their surroundings at all times this harvest season.

The warning comes from a paramedic who highlighted the speed differential between 50kph tractors and other vehicles travelling at the 120km speed limit.

This can particularly be an issue at steep inclines in the road, it was added.

The paramedic underlined the importance of constant vigilance on both the driver’s and the operator’s part, including the regular checking of rear-view mirrors.

It was also noted, when off the motorway, to allow motorists driving behind to pass when safe to do so, to avoid tailback build-ups.

‘Road mode’

On a recent episode of FarmLand back in June, Superintendent Eddie Golden, of An Garda Síochána Road Safety, said:

“Once you go on the road, you need to go into ‘road mode’ and make sure your tractor is in good condition and the flashing beacon is on.

Also, if you have an implement on the back of the vehicle that’s blocking the lights on the tractor, you should have a second set of auxiliary lights on the back of the implement.

“The concentration needed to control a large vehicle like that – it’s not conducive to any type of distraction,” Superintendent Golden stressed.

RSA view

If you are driving your tractor on the motorway and towing a trailer, the trailer must be capable by design of being drawn at a speed of 50kph or higher, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed.

Tractors can be driven on the motorway in the Republic of Ireland, providing that the tractor is capable of reaching a minimum speed of 50kph.

Since January 1, 2016, both tractors and trailers are required to be fitted with a speed disc indicating their design speed.

The RSA advises all road users to ensure your load is evenly distributed to reduce the chance of the trailer swaying, especially in high winds or when large vehicles overtake you.

Furthermore, you’re not allowed use the outside lane of the motorway if you’re towing a trailer or a horsebox.