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NFU Mutual urges drivers to take care as agricultural traffic increases on roads

By Imogen James

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Drivers should be aware of the increase in agricultural vehicles on the road. Picture: iStock.com JohnFScott
Drivers should be aware of the increase in agricultural vehicles on the road. Picture: iStock.com JohnFScott

AS summer approaches, NFU Mutual are reminding drivers that there will be an increase of agricultural vehicles on the road between May and September.

With the harvest season underway, this prompts more agricultural activity especially from tractors pulling heavy and wide loads.

Drivers should be patient and check their surroundings as well as giving plenty of space when overtaking.

Claims data from NFU Mutual shows that, in 2021, collisions between agricultural vehicles and third parties were 42 percent more likely between the start of May and the end of September than in any other months.

On average, there were 456 of these accidents per month during the silage cutting, hay making, and harvesting season, compared to just 263 per month between October and April.

Gregor Belcher, a farming specialist at NFU Mutual, said: “Farmers and contractors cannot – and should not – drive too quickly when pulling a heavily-laden trailer so we urge motorists and cyclists to be patient to avoid driving too close and attempting risky overtakes on narrow or unsighted roads. In turn, farmers should pull over to allow built-up traffic to pass when it is safe to do so.

“Rural road users, and particularly cyclists and motorcyclists, should be aware that the tractor may turn, and never attempt to overtake on the inside of a turning or field entrance.

“Ultimately, we urge anybody using rural roads to respect the vital function they serve to our farming industry. Bringing in the harvest is part of the lifeblood of UK farming and essential to feed the population. Most activity takes place when the sun is shining, which is likely to coincide with when people most want to visit and enjoy the countryside.

“By respecting fellow road users, we can all ensure that work and leisure can continue accident free harvest season.”

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