South Meath Driving School

Making Irish Roads Safer

We use a 1.4 litre Toyota Yaris.

    Dual control means the tutor has a clutch and brake pedal on the passenger side for demonstration or emergency purposes.
    This car is very easy to drive and allows good vision in all directions.
    Diesel engine and manual gears.
    Seats are adjustable to suit small or tall people. Wing mirrors electronically adjustable
    Perfect for learning to drive.

Posted by Louis on August 18, 2016

Farmer Safety on Public Roads

Farmers are advised to take great care when using machinery , tractors, trailers etc on the roads during summer months. The noon sun is now at its brilliant best and the first cut of silage is already underway which means farm machinery is in full swing on roads and in the meadows. Our temperatures are beating those of Barcelona  and Porto. Alas it’s time to rejoice, remembering all too well the floods of the past winter. So the bright rays should bring smiles and not sorrow.

Farm accidents and drownings are unfortunately associated with this finer time of year.

In 2014 there were 30 farming fatalities – a horrendous statistic. And last year there were 18 deaths.

This year so far has seen 4 such deaths. The cause is more often involving a tractor. Others include quad accidents, goring by a bull, silage pits, falling off a roof to electrocution usually by overhead wires. There’s always an element of carelessness involved. Don’t let it be you!

At this time of the year, the number of farm vehicles on the roads increases greatly thus increasing the risk of accidents. Farmers should post notice of machinery exiting onto a road by displaying a red flag and DANGER signs. Other motorists should also be aware of the likely presence of such machinery and display patience and caution if travelling behind those vehicles whose journeys are usually short. Access to farms is generally from the narrower side roads where greater care must be taken.

Drivers of farm tractors etc should always be conscious of other road users and if the road journey involves distance, pull in and allow those behind overtake. So, it is most important that tractors be fitted with adequate rear-view mirrors and be roadworthy. Indicators are vital as tractors/trailers are crossing traffic lanes and manoeuvering.  Trailers must not be overloaded as it may become unstable: the sight of such vehicle dipping into an average pothole even at  little speed, swaying left and right, should force anyone travelling behind to keep some distance.

Not very long ago I dealt with an unusual fire in a town not far from here. A lorry was drawing a load of straw bales, the latter catching fire. Damage to buildings amounted to c. €1m, despite being in the middle of a wide road. How did the fire start? The bales were built much too high and overhead electric wired lapped along the top of the load, making contact with each other.

Farmers, like other breeds, enjoy seeing their children grow up and some allow their 10 or 12 year olds up on the tractor, driving on his or her own and literally taking on the task of a trained driver. Too often we see those children even driving on public roads. Let them wait, their day will come.

Tractors emerging from fields onto the public road may have wheels laden with mud. If such wheels aren’t cleaned, this mud is deposited on the road posing obvious danger for other motorists or cyclists. I did hear recently of a farmer’s insurance company settling with a motorist who had a crash as a result of skidding on such mud deposit. Carelessness is, therefore, being punished and with a little care comes greater peace of mind. Slurry, silage, sand etc that spills onto the road causes the same danger.

Wider vehicles or those bearing large or wide loads should have an escort front and rear to warn other road users.

Adults should take particular care with children while using farm vehicles. The best policy is to remove them from the scene completely. It’s a difficult thing to do as the occasion creates great excitement for them –  look, assess and avoid regrets.

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