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Sharing roads safely during the harvest period.

Sharing roads safely during the harvest period.
And just like that, summer is drawing to an end and harvest season is upon us. During the most important time in the farming calendar, crops are being gathered in from the fields using various techniques and machinery. We should expect to see large farming vehicles heading down roads around the UK over the next few weeks. Rebecca Ashton, Head of Policy and Research for IAM RoadSmart has some timely reminders and tips to make things a little easier for drivers, riders and farmers during harvest season. 

Drivers and riders in rural areas should always remain alert and patient, particularly at this time of year where there is more of a chance of encountering a large slow-moving farm vehicle on rural roads. Although many can travel faster than they used to, this can still seem slow especially if you are in a hurry so always allow a little extra time for your journey if you're travelling on rural roads. 

Farm vehicles such as tractors and combine harvesters are large and complex machines to operate, so the driver will appreciate your patience and understanding.  A fully loaded tractor and trailer might make it more difficult for the driver to see – remember all vehicles do not have the same view or manoeuvring capabilities as you. 

Be vigilant when driving near farmland, a look over into the field will give you a clue as to whether a vehicle is going to exit in front of you, you might also find mud on the road in these areas  will affect your braking and grip. 

Large farm vehicles will require additional road space, so keep a mental note of the last passing space or wide area in case you need to reverse. 

Always be prepared to slow down, safely pull over to the side of the road or stop. This will aid the driver in the farm vehicle if they are having to manoeuvre with limited space. 

If a farm vehicle is slowing down and looks as if it is pulling over to the off-side of the road – consider they could be turning left but need that extra space to make the turn safely.  The driver might be using hand signals or looking back over their shoulder to assess the situation before turning. 

Try not to get irritable if you get stuck behind a farm vehicle, this is their busiest time of year.  Most drivers will pull over and let you past when they can, remember a thank you is always appreciated. 

Rebecca said: "It's important now more than ever, that we are considerate of others and our surroundings and our communities. Extra care and patience with any situation can go a long way."

*Article Source www.iamroadsmart.com