Galway County Council has issued a road safety appeal to farmers driving agricultural machinery and pedestrians, to be especially aware of one another at this time.
The road safety message comes as silage cutting season is underway, and is being jointly issued by the council, IFA, and Road Safety Authority.
The three organisations are reminding farmers bringing in the a cut of silage that the roads are much busier than usual this year.
The lockdown imposed for the Covid-19 crisis has seen Irish roads far more packed with pedestrians and cyclists in recent weeks than in previous years.
“Normally at this time of year, there is an appeal for motorists to be on the lookout for tractors, trailers and other agricultural machinery exiting from fields and farmyards,” a statement from the county council said.
And while this advice still stands, a special appeal is being made in out current circumstances to “understand that around every corner could be a neighbouring family or friend” out getting exercise while in lockdown.
This is especially true on rural roads, which aren’t the safest place to walk at the best of times as many lack footpaths, but are the only option for people unable to go further than 5km from their homes.
“With increased numbers of people of all ages out walking, running and cycling, it is imperative that we all take greater care and follow the rules of the road.”
The county council has out together the following road safety tips for farmers:
• 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.