Keeping safe when it comes to poor road conditions

Posted by Chris 13/09/2017 0 Comment(s)

It’s probably safe to say that the summer we barely had is over now, and we’re now ‘looking forward’ to shorter days with autumnal wind and rain.

The Met Office can only forecast a couple of weeks ahead with any degree of accuracy, but it’s safe enough to say that at this time of year, we can expect rain. And on a farm, rain brings with it dangerous hazards for farm workers and visitors alike:

Mud - Bringing attention to those parts of the road that are either already muddy or are most likely to be affected by mud is particularly important if your farm is visited by members of the public. Put up ‘Mud on Road’ warning signs on the side of those roadways and paths on your farm which are most prone to getting muddy. 

Flood - We don’t know how much rain is going to fall over the next couple of months, but after seeing the way the record-breaking hurricanes have battered the Caribbean and US, we are all thinking the worst. Prevent vehicles getting stuck or breaking down on flooded areas by surrounding the site with warning cones. As the flood recedes (or gets worse) it’s a simple job to move the cones accordingly.

Ensure the safety of your vehicles in adverse conditions

HSE guidance states that your tractors, trailers and other machinery must be roadworthy, including being fitted with brakes designed for the maximum loads and speeds at which they will operate. Vehicles must be inspected daily, paying particular attention to the braking system, with any faults being repaired promptly.  

Careful driving in adverse conditions

It doesn’t matter how safe a driver you or your farm workers are (or think you are), accidents on farms involving vehicles are common. Safe driving begins with the driver, and Brake, the road safety awareness charity, has produced guidelines on how to drive safely in adverse conditions. These include:

  • Driving more slowly, and slowing down even more when going round corners
  • Keep a safe gap behind the vehicle in front of you because stopping distances double in wet conditions. You will also avoid the spray from the vehicle in front which will reduce your visibility
  • Be aware that when it’s raining or foggy, pedestrians and animals are harder to see
  • Use lights whenever visibility is reduced, including when it’s raining in the daytime
  • Never cross a flooded road unless you are sure the water is shallow enough for your vehicle to drive through it. In the case of ordinary cars, if you can’t see the road underneath the water, don’t drive through it
  • When driving through a flood, stay in first gear and drive slowly. Do not drive through floods if a vehicle is coming the other way. Stay in the centre of the road as the water will be deeper at the kerb
  • Gently test the brakes immediately after driving through the water