Each spring the rural countryside blossoms with a wealth of moving farm machinery as farmers begin transporting machines from one field to the next. The birds may be singing a warning song to both the farmers and those that share the roads with them.
Each year incidents involving tractors and other farm machinery occur on public roads, causing death and injury to those involved, as well as involving untold costs in damage to equipment. Nearly half of these incidents involve a collision with another vehicle. The remainder involve running off the road, overturning, striking a fixed object, or falling from equipment.
The roads can be a dangerous place for anyone. Adolescents who are just learning to operate a tractor may be at an even greater risk. This is also true of the adolescent operating the approaching car or truck. Their experience level and subsequent skill in handling emergencies is less than that of those who have been driving for many years.
Here are some points you may want to consider when transporting farm machinery:
- Obey all traffic laws, including speed limits, traffic signals, and signs.
- Have clean and bright slow-moving emblems on all tractors and implements.
- Be sure brakes are in good working condition.
- Don't move farm equipment on public roads anytime between sunset and sunrise.
- Farm equipment must be properly lighted, including turn signals, headlights.
- Flashing amber and taillights.
- Equip all tractors with ROPS and instruct all operators to wear seat belts. Never tow more than one trailer over the road and always use a least one-safety chain in addition to the hitch bar.
- Always slow down on turns and curves. A tractor's turning radius is much smaller than that of most automobiles.
Remember, you may be preoccupied on planting the next cornfield when transporting machinery. Stay alert and make it there in one piece. Also, remind young operators to watch out and stay safe.
Keep spring a safe and pleasant time of the year. Keep those birds singing for joy-not alarm and caution.
Article provided by Farm Safety 4 Just Kids, Earlham, Iowa www.fs4jk.org