Police issue safety advice as NI roads get busy with agricultural vehicles

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With roads getting busy with agricultural vehicles such as tractors, slurry tankers and silage trailers, road users are reminded to play their part in keeping them safe for everyone.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has joined with Ulster Farmers’ Union to issue the timely reminder to drivers.

PSNI Inspector, Gary Irvine, commented: “It is important to remember all drivers have a valuable role to play in keeping our roads safe.
“Remember to always ensure that agricultural vehicles used on the road are properly maintained, with rear view mirrors fitted, working lights and effective braking systems.

“Take particular care with projections such as bale spikes - remove them or carry them in a safe position.

Farmers are busy with seasonal jobs. Image: HSENIFarmers are busy with seasonal jobs. Image: HSENI
Farmers are busy with seasonal jobs. Image: HSENI

“Make sure your vehicle tyres are in good, legal condition, with the correct pressures, that you have enough fuel and that you have topped up all the fluid levels.
“When driving a slow-moving vehicle be considerate of other road users - use lay-bys to allow traffic to flow.

“Do not allow mud or dirt to accumulate on the road, as this can be hazardous to other road users.
“All road users, particularly those using country roads, need to ensure they drive at an appropriate speed to give them enough time to react to any slower moving agricultural vehicles.

“Please take extra care and have patience to reduce risk by not making dangerous overtaking manoeuvres and only overtake when it is safe to do so.
“Stay safe on the roads and be considerate of others.”

Inspector Irvine continued: “Be mindful that the maximum weight of the agricultural vehicle plus the laden (full) trailer is 31t and the maximum agricultural laden (full) trailer weight is 18.29t to travel legally on our roads.

“Note that one litre of water weighs almost exactly one kilogram.

“Using this as an example, if a 4,500 gallon tanker (weighing 6,000kg empty) was laden (full) with only water it would weigh approximately 26,500kg.

“Putting it well over the legal weight to be towed on our roads.

“Always check that your vehicle’s plated weight is capable of towing the trailer or appliance and that it is within the weights stated above.

“If the vehicle is incapable of towing the weight, or the weights are above the legal limits, you are making the roads unsafe for other road users and yourself.

“Police operations conducting checks on the weights of agricultural vehicles and trailers or towed appliances may be conducted.

“If a road traffic collision occurs and vehicle weights or towing combinations are found to be illegal then this could affect insurance cover and it could also lead to prosecution.

“We all share the responsibility to keep our roads safe for everyone, please be mindful of your own safety and that of other road users.”

UFU president, David Brown, added: “At this time of year the weather is getting better and there is a longer stretch in the evenings.

“Farmers will be on the roads much more often, busy with various seasonal jobs such as spreading slurry and cutting silage.

“With the number of agri vehicles and large machinery travelling on the roads increasing, it’s important that all road users are respectful of slower moving vehicles.

“Farmers are our primary food producers, and we urge other road users to be respectful when they meet them on the roads and when manoeuvring in and out of fields.

“It’s also important that they are mindful of farmers’ blind spots.

“Farm safety is a major concern for every farming family, and this includes safety on roads.

“Caution and extra consideration must be applied when travelling, with all road users looking out for one another,” Mr Brown ended.

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