Jeremy Vine held a discussion on the subject of tractors and farm kit on the road on Radio 2 last week – a hot topic at this time of year. FWi forum users have also been discussing the issue:
I look in the mirror and see six cars behind me, I am going flat out – 25mph – and there is nowhere to pull in. It is this time that I get a funny feeling between my shoulder blades and I have worked out what it is, hatred! Unfortunately, some road users think that the only reason I am on the road is to make them late for their next appointment. I have always tried to drive with the thought that it is better to be ten minutes late in this world than 20 years early in the next. However some drivers do not seem to agree with that philosophy and when they see a tractor they seem to lose all road sense and have to pass it whether it is safe or not.
For most of the year, I don’t think tractor drivers are significantly better or any worse than the rest of drivers on the road – probably rather better. At harvest time, though, there is urgency to get the grain (or silage, or hay) home, and I regret to say I think many drivers start to lose awareness and consideration for other road users – not all, of course, there are equally many who continue to be safe and polite.
Has anyone ever taken particular notice if the little saying on some of the Marshall kit: “Farmgate to dinner plate, good food comes to those who wait”.
A lot of car drivers lose all their common sense when they catch up with a tractor, blaring their horns as soon as they catch you up, being abusive or overtaking in the most ridiculous places. I wish I had a policeman in the cab with me sometimes.
Car drivers need some more training, who thinks it is a good idea to overtake a vehicle indicating to turn right? I had six yesterday. We travel eight miles to a block of land and there are no laybys along that whole stretch, so what can you do? I will pull over, but only when it is safe and I know when I want to pull out I will be able to see. It would help if there was enforcement for owners to cut their hedges which are a menace as you can’t use the whole road.
Of course, if farmers farmed one farm, with their own kit, there would be little need for tractors to be on the road. If expanding farms only expanded on to contiguous land the problem would disappear. Just a point to consider.
One of the worst advertisements for our industry is a tractor with a long line of traffic behind it, going past lots of pulling-off places… with the tractor driver on his mobile phone. Really annoys me.
I agree that it’s sometimes annoying that tractors hold you up – but farmers are just trying to do their job and when driving a tractor it is hard to see when cars are behind you when they get so close to trailers.
Do you think the public are typically unreasonable? Or is there more farmers could do if they’re taking big kit on public roads? Have your say on our website forums at www.fwi.co.uk/tractorsonroad