Spring's arrival means farmers are heading to the fields to plant crops, the spreading of fertilizer and many more tasks across the Country side and residents in rural areas will see more tractors and large planting equipment on local roads, farmers will continue to rely on public roads to transport the equipment they need to do their job. Farming is a lifestyle, we've all heard that, but it's also a job. If farmers can't do their job producing food and sustaining the environment, we're all in trouble. We need to give them a break and exercise driving tolerance so they can move their machinery from field to field.
The road safety campaign is also reminding people that a farm vehicle is part of a farmer's workplace. They want drivers to be respectful in allowing farmers to do their job. Drivers' anxiety levels skyrocket when they get behind a tractor or combine. But keep in mind that equipment is likely not going too far, and will not hold you up for more than a few minutes.
The Roads Safety Office of Mayo County Council is encouraging all motorists to be aware of farm equipment as they travel through rural areas this spring and all year long.
Noel Gibbons Road Safety Officer Mayo County Council said "Rural road safety is an important issue year-round, but it is especially important at this time of year,". "Farmers will be out planting, and motorists must remain alert for large and often slow-moving equipment. "Country roads are unpredictable and, therefore, present far more challenges to drivers.Country crashes often result in greater numbers of fatalities and injuries because vehicles are usually travelling at higher speeds.
"There is often a misconception by motorists who think that rural roadways are safer because it is a place where they can drive faster because of less traffic. But when farm equipment is being moved from field to field, the opposite is often the truth, "On the other side of the coin is the farmer who thinks that because he has lights and warning signs on his equipment that he is easily spotted by approaching motorists, and he lets his guard down."
Pass with care: Pass farmers with caution. Be observant of oncoming traffic and of other vehicles that may try to pass. Never pass when curves or hills block your view of oncoming vehicles, in a no-passing zone or within 100 feet of a junction, railroad crossing or a bridge,. Also be careful that the farmer is not pulling to the left to make a wide turn to the right.
Be patient: Farmers are not operating equipment on rural roads to slow other drivers down intentionally; they are working to provide a safe food supply. Whenever possible, farmers will pull off the road to allow others to pass.
Slow down: Once you see agricultural vehicles, slow down immediately and be patient.
Remain visible: Don't assume the farmer knows you are driving near his vehicle. Although most farmers check behind them whenever possible, they are concentrating on keeping their equipment on the road and avoiding oncoming traffic. Before you pass, use your car's horn to let the driver know where you are and not in an aggressive manner. Farmers may not be able to hear you over their equipment noise.
Yield to wide vehicles: Sometimes farm equipment is wider than travel lanes. If you approach wide equipment and cannot pass safely, stop. Watch for escort cars, which help to indicate an oversized vehicle. If you see one, pull off so the vehicle can pass you.
What we are asking drivers of slow moving vehicles to do is drive at the speed appropriate to the conditions, if they're not comfortable in doing that, we're not asking them to speed up, we're asking them to give way to following vehicles, pull in where it is safe to do so. They must be aware of the tail of vehicles behind them and by ignoring that, they're actually driving without due care and attention. The premise is simple, reduce the need to overtake, and it follows there would be less overtaking collisions. In 2006 some 2.8% of collisions were caused by improper overtaking. We are asking for common courtesy to be shown on our roads."
Cooperation among farmers and rural motorists is the key to rural roads safety, farmers produce food for us so How about sharing the road with them?