Road advice for car and tractor drivers during busy harvest period

Robert Sheasby, NFU East Anglia

Robert Sheasby, NFU East Anglia - Credit: Submitted

Motorists are being urged to drive with extra caution and patience on rural roads as East Anglia's harvest gets underway.

The National Farmers' Union (NFU) warned that increased numbers of farm machinery will be on the move in the coming weeks, as farmers work to bring in this year's crop and prepare fields for next year.

NFU East Anglia regional director Robert Sheasby said rural roads are hazardous throughout the year, accounting for about 70pc of serious injury accidents, but the harvest period can bring increased risks.

'We're asking all road users to take special care driving in the countryside, to reduce the risk of accidents during the busiest time in the farming calendar,' he said.

'By following sensible advice, such as rural insurer NFU Mutual's road safety code, accidents can be prevented, inconvenience to motorists minimised, and farmers can have a successful, and safe, harvest.'

Mr Sheasby said one common scenario for accidents was when drivers attempted to overtake tractors which were slowing down to turn right.

NFU Mutual's rural road safety code includes advice for both tractor drivers and drivers of other vehicles:

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For cars, lorries and motorbikes:

• Be patient when driving behind tractors; they rarely travel long distances on the roads and will pull in when it is safe to let traffic pass

• Look carefully for oncoming and following vehicles before turning right

• Watch carefully for oncoming traffic before pulling out onto a major road

• Be prepared for tractors to turn right into fields and farmyards

• Remember that when turning right a tractor with a trailer will often pull over to the left first in order to negotiate the turn

• Check rear view mirrors before trying to overtake

• Indicate clearly before pulling out to overtake

For tractors:

• Make sure the road is clear ahead and behind before turning right - in particular look behind to check that no vehicle is trying to overtake

• Watch carefully for oncoming traffic before pulling out onto a major road

• Signal clearly well in advance of slowing down or moving to the right

• Make sure tractor and towed implement lights are working

• Make sure amber flashing beacons are switched on while travelling on public roads

• Make sure cab glass, mirrors and lights are clean and free from obstructions

• Pull over when you can do safely to let following vehicles pass

• Check that trailers and mounted implements are well lit at night

The NFU has also produced a Farm Vehicle Health Check so farmers can ensure their vehicles are roadworthy. For more information, click here.