Share the Road: Tractor Safety
The unpredictable weather has delayed many Missouri farmers this spring, but they are determined to get their crops in the ground and start cutting hay in hopes to have a profitable year. Even with an urgency to get tasks finished, it’s important to observe safety procedures and not make safety an afterthought.
However, tractor safety isn’t exclusive to farmers and ranchers. It’s crucial for farmers and other motorists to share the road. Farmers will be driving to and from their farms, often times on busy highways. Tractors, especially those pulling implements or full loads, travel at slower speeds and can slow down regular traffic. Motorists need to be patient with those operating farm equipment. Although tractors may significantly slow down traffic, do not attempt to pass tractors unless you can see a clear road ahead.
The most important tip of tractor safety: know your tractor. Each tractor is a uniquely complex machine that requires training to use safely and efficiently. Be sure you know how to operate all parts and implements you may be using. If you are operating machinery with a power take-off (PTO), be sure to have the proper guard on. Never wear loose-fitting clothing around a PTO, and keep all body parts clear. Check out one Missouri farmer’s story about farm safety dealing with a PTO.
If you’re driving a tractor on Missouri highways, the tractor must be equipped with one white light visible from 500 feet to the front and at least one red light visible 500 feet to the rear. It is important to wait for traffic to clear before entering the highway to avoid allowing traffic to build up. Here are some other tips for safe tractor operation:
- Maintain control of equipment
- Stay alert
- Beware of blind intersections
- Keep the approaching traffic lane clear
- Use hand signals or turn signals
- Obey all traffic signs
For more information about safely operating tractors, visit Show-Me Farm Safety.