This week marks the return of Brake’s annual Road Safety Week, and unsurprisingly it’s a cause close to our hearts.
It’s been another rollercoaster year for our industry. From unprecedented weather to political challenges, we know that farmers from all sectors are fighting battles on multiple fronts. At these times it can be easy to overlook the basics.
This year, the theme of the UK’s biggest annual road safety campaign is ‘Let’s talk about speed’ so, as a gentle reminder, we’ve pulled together some top tips to help you stay safe and legal on the UK’s roads; and we’re kicking it off with all things speed, size, and weight.
There can be many reasons why people speed and often, it’s just an innocent oversight; not being aware of the speed limit, or speed just creeping up. But other factors can also contribute like running late or having a busy schedule and would you believe that listening to louder, energetic beats can affect your behaviour behind the wheel? So, avoid metal and techno tracks!
But speeding is still a factor in many accidents on our roads and getting caught speeding can carry significant penalties. So really… it’s not worth the risk.
Farms play host to a wide variety of vehicles and it’s easy to forget that the maximum legal speed for each one can be different, based on factors including size and weight. New, larger tractors may be wider than 2.55 metres, so it’s important to double check which category your vehicles fall into.
|Size (including tyres and anything towed)
|Tractors not exceeding 2.55 metres wide
|25mph (40 km/h)
|Tractors not exceeding 2.55 metres wide, built to a higher specification including Fastrac and Unimog
|40mph (65 km/h)
|Vehicles between 2.55 metres and 3.5 metres
|20mph (32 km/h)
|Vehicles between 3.5 metres and 4.3 metres
|12mph (19 km/h)
Please note – When travelling on public roads, if your vehicle is wider than 3 metres, you should notify the police about your journey and, if it is wider than 3.5 metres, you must have an escort.
Also – don’t forget your beacon! Any vehicle with four or more wheels and a maximum legal speed less than 25 mph must have at least one warning beacon when using a dual-carriageway or public roads with a speed limit of 50 mph or above.
While you may not expect to exceed them, it’s worth being aware of the weight restrictions for agricultural vehicles. We’d hate for you to be caught out!
The combined weight limit for a tractor and trailer on public roads is 31 tonnes, but the trailer itself must not exceed 18.29 tonnes (this includes the trailer and its load).
Did you know? If 31 tonnes is exceeded, it can no longer be classified as an agricultural vehicle.
Last year three farmers lost their lives as a result of moving vehicles. It remains the main cause of serious injury on farms. Whatever you are doing, when you are out and about, remember to keep yourself and those around you safe. If you need to exit the vehicle for any reason – on the farm or on roads – always make sure you use ‘Safe Stop’:
- Fully apply the handbrake
- Put all controls in neutral
- Stop the engine
- Remove the key from the ignition
To learn more please visit Tractors and regulatory requirements: a brief guide September 2017 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)