How can tractors increase their safety on the road?

| Oct 29, 2020 | Farm Safety |

As a farm worker who uses a tractor, you likely drive your tractor down roads in the state to get from one farming location to another. However, navigating your tractor on a street means you will likely encounter regular automobiles like cars and trucks. Keeping safe is vital to prevent a serious or even fatal accident with another vehicle.

As North Carolina Health News points out, at least six agricultural deaths occurred in the state in the year 2017, with at least one stemming from an SUV impacting a tractor. If you need to drive your tractor on a road shared by other motorists, you may benefit from these tips that could help boost your safety.

Planning your drive

Doing some early planning before you drive may help you avoid an accident. Some farmers do not feel safe driving during certain times, like in rush hour, harsh weather, or during the night. It may be safer to put off driving for safer times. If you do plan to drive during periods of lower light or a soft rain, consider whatever precautions you need to take to reduce collision risks.

Signal your intent to turn

As you approach an intersection to turn off, switch on your turn signal. This will let approaching motorists know your intentions. However, some drivers might not understand where to look on a tractor for signals or even know that tractors have turn signals. You might reinforce your electronic signal by displaying a hand signal, which a motorist may be more likely to see.

Be careful on the shoulder

One way tractor drivers get hurt or killed is if their tractors tip over. Road shoulders are a particular area of concern. If they are steep or soft, they might not support the weight of your tractor. So you want to be careful of surfaces that can cause your tractor to take a tumble.

Make others aware of you

The slow speed of your tractor may cause some motorists to not notice you. To help increase your visibility, consider putting a tall flag on your tractor. Even if a curve or a rise in the road hides your vehicle, you flag may be tall enough for motorists to see from a distance. You could also turn on your headlights, but be careful about switching on your rear spotlights as motorists may mistake them for headlights and think you are coming towards them.