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A 3-step approach to safely driving farm equipment on the road

From the moment we first get behind a steering wheel, we're taught to watch out for other drivers. "A sound strategy if you're driving a vehicle that can accelerate, slow down or change direction at a moment's notice," says Dean Anderson, WSPS' strategic advisor, agriculture initiatives. "But if you're driving slow-moving farm equipment, defensive driving also means making sure other drivers see you."

Anderson offers this 3-step approach to roadway safety.

1. Establish and follow safe roadway policies and procedures

  • Maintain your equipment in good operating condition.
  • Equip all tractors with a roll over protective structure (ROPS) and seat belt.
  • Use only trained and licensed drivers.
  • Implement a no-rider policy. If things go wrong, extra riders are at greatest risk of injury.
  • Establish safe driving times. If you don't need to move it at night, don't. If it's 4:30 pm on a Friday, or between 7:30 and 9:00 am on a weekday, do you really need to be on the road?

2. Before heading out on the road

  • Be aware of road conditions and visibility.
  • Know your route. If you have a choice, take the route with the greatest visibility and least traffic.
  • Perform a complete equipment check.
  • Ensure brake pedals are locked together before high speed road travel.
  • Clean windows, mirrors, lights and markers.

3. While operating your vehicle

  • Enter roadways only when it is safe to do so. Watch for oncoming vehicles, and assume all vehicles are travelling at the speed limit or faster.
  • Keep as far to the right as possible while staying on the road. Avoid driving on the shoulder. While helpful to other drivers, driving on the shoulder may encourage them to pass when it may not be safe to do so. It may also be dangerous for you if the shoulder is soft or uneven.
  • Clearly indicate all turns.
  • Slow down when leaving a roadway to reduce the risk of sideways rollovers.
  • Respect other drivers. Share the road without putting yourself or other drivers at risk.
  • Don't rely on other drivers to drive safely. Inexperienced or distracted drivers may take unnecessary risks.

WSPS can help

Our consultants can help you establish a system for managing roadway safety and any other health and safety issues that could put your people and your operation at risk. Find out more by visiting our Farm Safety resources section or contacting Customer Care, 1 877 494 WSPS (9777),