Giant four-wheel-drive tractors are now used on many farms. Though most safety recommendations apply to both large and small tractors, there are special safety concerns when operating super-sized tractors. The tractor’s dimensions may cause difficulties in tight places, at corners and gates, and on narrow roadways. Overhead clearances, especially around power lines, may cause a problem.
The unique steering systems of large 4-wheel-drive tractors present new handling problems, especially for beginning drivers. All-wheel steering can shift a towed device into an unexpected path. Articulated steering changes the rig’s center of gravity so that an overturn can occur under unexpected conditions. With articulate steering, high-speed road travel requires more operating skill than conventional tractor steering does.
If an operator steers a unit with articulated steering while it is standing still, a bystander can be trapped in the hinge region. All new tractors carry warnings, but it is the operator’s responsibility to be sure everyone is clear before starting or maneuvering the machine.
Publication #: 2323
This Maine Farm Safety Fact Sheet is part of an educational fact sheet series produced by the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. For more information on farm safety, contact your county Extension office.
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