Motorists advised to show tolerance when caught behind a tractor

MAYO County Council has appealed to road users to exercise tolerance if they are caught behind farm machinery in the coming week.

Car drivers, who are used to keeping up a steady 80kmh on country roads at other times of the year, find their heart rates soaring and steam coming out of their ears as they stare at the rear end of a tractor. The tractor driver, if he has a 50kph gearbox, has a maximum speed of 30mph to play with.

With the warmer weather of spring comes one of the busiest and most exciting times of the year for farmers – spreading slurry or preparing ground for planting season.

As farmers head to the fields to plant, farm-vehicle traffic increases on rural roads.

The farming community encourage all drivers to exercise caution when approaching tractors and farm implements to ensure their safety and the safety of others.

Motorists should recognise that farm machinery has a legal right to use public roads, as does any other motor vehicle.

Consider this: a car travelling 80 km/h can close a 90-metre gap (the length of a football field) and overtake a tractor moving at 25 km/h in about four seconds. If you do not begin to slow as soon as you see a farm vehicle, you might not have time to avoid a collision.

The road safety office of Mayo County Council offers some safety tips for motorists who find themselves sharing the road with farm equipment.

Farmers - who drive their equipment on the roads - will often try to get out of the way when they can, but they need drivers to be patient and wait for equipment to find a place to pull over.

Noel Gibbons, Mayo road safety officer, said that drivers’ anxiety levels sky-rocket when they find themselves stuck behind farm machinery, but that it is likely to delay the road user by just a couple of minutes.

“We are also asking motorists to show equal amount of goodwill that many farmers showed over the past couple of weeks helping motorists keep mobile by clearing snow from driveways and estates,” he added.