Drivers of farming machinery and vulnerable road users are being urged to share the road safely as silage cutting season gets underway in Ireland.

The Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) and the Road Safety Authority (RSA) have made a joint appeal reminding farming contractors to remember that roads are much busier with pedestrians and cyclists because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“It’s going to be a busy time on farms in the coming weeks as farming contractors begin bringing in the silage around the country,” said IFA President Tim Cullinan.

“Normally at this time of the year both the IFA and the RSA appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards, and while traffic volumes have reduced, this advice still stands.

“However, we are making a special appeal this year in light of the current situation to ask that anyone driving farm machinery, especially on rural roads, to cut back on their speed and understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend out for a walk, jog or a cycle within 5km of their home.”

Farmers are also being reminded of the following safety tips:

  • Plan and prepare for all work with machinery. Always allow adequate time for the job.
  • Always practice the SAFE STOP procedure. Reverse park safely, handbrake on, controls in neutral, lower all attachments, engine off and remove keys!
  • Carry out regular checks and maintenance of all farm vehicles, particularly brakes.
  • Never remove or modify guards in order to save time.
  • Only use machines if you know how to use them safely and have received suitable training.
  • Always drive at a safe speed and know your limits.