following script can be used to deliver a 15-minute training
session to employees. You may wish to have a tractor and wagon
on hand to point out safety requirements for road travel.
The text emphasizes important points related to farm safety
on public roads. It is suggested that you try to stay strictly
on topic. Obviously, you will need to be prepared to answer
TO EMPHASIZE :
hitch connections, including safety chain.
SMV signs and proper lighting to make farm equipment
the condition of all tires before heading out.
courteous, and obey the traffic laws.
the dangers of highway travel
Move farm equipment on public roads can be a dangerous business.
Operators need to drive defensively and remain alert every second
they are on the road.
Accidents can happen when farm equipment operators:
- lack the experience to handle the heavy, slow moving
- drive too fast, particularly when pulling a heavy load
- drive partially over the centre line.
- drive partially on the shoulder, and partially on the
main road surface-
- run into a tree or other fixed object.
A major reason for farm machinery accidents on public roads
is the difference in speed between cars and tractors. Motorists
approach the slow moving farm equipment so quickly that they
only have a few seconds to identify the hazard and react appropriately.
That's why it is so important for farm equipment to be highly
visible, properly identified as moving much slower than regular
This identification is provided by the slow moving vehicle (SMV)
sign. It must be:
- centered on the rear of the tractor or trailing equipment,
between 60 cm and 1.8 meters above the road surface-
- clearly visible from a distance of 150 meters.
SMV signs must be kept clean. Faded or damaged signs should
Tractors must be equipped with lights if operated on public
roads at night, or under conditions of reduced visibility. Highway
travel requires headlights, red taillights, and reflectors.
Flashing amber lights provide day and night warning to traffic
approaching from either direction. Turn signals provide added
highway safety. The more highly visible the equipment is, the
Check everything before heading out
You need to perform a complete check of both the tractor and
trailed equipment before heading for the road.
Safe driving tips
- Use safety-type hitch pins, and make sure they are securely
- A safety chain must extend from the tractor to the frame
of the towed equipment.
- Check all tires (on both tractor and towed equipment)
for air pressure, cuts and bumps.
- Always lock brake pedals together for highway
travel. Sudden braking on one wheel only at high speed could
put the tractor into a dangerous skid.
- Rearview mirrors, flares, and fire extinguishers should
be standard equipment for tractors that are frequently driven
on public roads.
- Confirm that all lights are operating properly.
- Make sure that the SMV sign is clean, unfaded, and properly
- Check towed equipment. Any load should be balanced and
properly secured. Make sure the towed load is light enough
for the tractor to handle safely. Heavy wagons should be
equipped with independent brakes.
Farm machinery operators can make road travel safer for themselves
and others by taking the following precautions.
Are there any questions?
Finally, Jet's take a moment to review some of the "Do's"
and "Don'ts" farm equipment safety on public roads.
Avoid busy roads whenever possible, even if travel time will
Travel at a speed that will allow you to maintain full control
at all times.
Slow down when making turns or rounding curves-
- Observe road travel precautions listed in operator manuals.
Some tractors freewheel in higher gears. This can be very
dangerous when coming down a hill. Use lower gear ranges
when climbing or descending hills.
If possible, drive on the shoulder of a paved highway. However,
don't drive partly on the shoulder and partly on the paved lane.
Stay alert for hazards such as soft shoulders, narrow bridges,
loose gravel, bumps, potholes, and deep ruts-
When cars are lined up behind you, and a suitable shoulder
is available, pullover to let traffic pass.
If possible, move equipment in daylight during periods of light
Travel after dark only if absolutely necessary. Remember that
you need proper lighting for night driving.
Don't take chances by pulling onto a road in front of moving
traffic. Enter and exit roadways very cautiously if your view
- Obey traffic laws and signs. Courtesy is a key component
of road safety!
Make sure that towed equipment is properly secured
with a locking hitch pin and safety chain.
Always lock brake pedals together for road travel.
Slow down on curves, turns, and when pulling heavy
Obey all traffic laws and signs.
farm machinery on the road without and SMV sign.
Ever let a tractor "freewheel" while traveling
down a hill.
Pull onto the road in front of moving traffic.
Allow yourself to get angry at discourteous drivers.
The information and recommendations contained in this publication
are believed to be reliable and representative of contemporary
expert opinion on the subject material. The Farm Safety Association
Inc. does not guarantee absolute accuracy or sufficiency of
subject material, nor can it accept responsibility for health
and safety recommendations that may have been omitted due
to particular and exceptional conditions and circumstances.
Copyright © 2002
Farm Safety Association Inc.
22-340 Woodlawn Road West, Guelph, Ontario N1H 7K6 (519) 823-5600.
Disclaimer and Reproduction Information: Information in
NASD does not represent NIOSH policy. Information included in
NASD appears by permission of the author and/or copyright holder.