24 May 2002

Dont stick your neck out with tractor projections

Agricultural vehicles

consultant Mike Braithwaite

continues his question and

answer series on the use of

agricultural vehicles on the

road. This week, he takes a

look at how the law relates

to implements which

project from the front and

rear of the tractor

Q What is the situation about forward and rearward projections on my tractor ?

A The requirements relating to any projection front or rearwards from your tractor, such as mounted ploughs or harrows, all depend on the distance measured from the tractor to the end of the projection.

The definitions of marker boards and lighting needs some explaining.

Marker boards are the same as used in the haulage industry to mark overhanging loads and must be positioned with the side marker board somewhere in the centre of the projection visible from both sides, and the end marker board at the end of the projection visible from the rear or front, as the case may be.

During daylight hours the only requirement is that they shall be kept clean and clearly visible at all times, but during the hours of darkness and in reduced visibility they must be illuminated. This can be achieved by fitting registration plate lamps to each of the boards and plugged into the vehicle by a caravan-type socket.

Any projection either forwards or to the rear from the vehicle must be fitted with extra lights if the obligatory lights on the vehicle are covered by the projection, or the projection extends 2m or more from the vehicles lights.

It is important to be aware that the position of obligatory lamps have a maximum height as laid down in legislation, which means it is not possible in the majority of cases for obligatory lamps to be fitted to the top of the tractor cab because they would be too high.

It appears to be a common practice for the drivers of tractors when travelling along the road at night to have their rear working lamps switched on and pointed down to illuminate the plough or piece of equipment which is being carried.

This is totally illegal because they are displaying a white light to the rear during the hours of darkness, which could well dazzle other traffic on the road. &#42

Mike Braithwaite stresses the above answers are based on his interpretation of the law and it must be remembered that reference must be made to the various Acts and regulations dealing with this subject because they only have the force of law and it is only the courts who can authoritatively interpret the legislation.

Projection length Requirements

Up to 1m None.

1m to 2m Projections must be made visible.

Sharp projections must be guarded.

Lights required at night and in reduced visibility.

2m to 4m Marker boards must be fitted as outlined below.

Lights required at night and in reduced visibility.

4m to 6m Marker boards must be fitted as outlined below.

Notification to the police as outlined on the widths

of vehicles.

Lights required at night and in reduced visibility.

Over 6m Marker boards must be fitted as outlined below.

An attendant is now required as for wide of vehicles.

Notification to the police as described in a previous

article in this series on the widths of vehicles.

Lights required at night and in reduced visibility.