Farm vehicle safety
Farmers know how much farm vehicles have changed over the years. A farm fleet of vehicles can include a variety of vehicles, trucks, and trailers.
You may have increased the number of vehicles and trailers you use in order to maximize harvest transportation and keep labor costs down. There are many hazards associated with using these types of vehicles, especially by an inexperienced or perhaps inattentive driver. Understanding maintenance needs, how to inspect vehicles, and how to recognize hazardous conditions are all important for vehicle safety.
Here are some things you can do to maintain safe farm vehicles:
- Check tire condition and tire pressure.
- Inspect and repair the suspension systems as soon as needed
- Make sure you have a charged fire extinguisher along with flares or reflective devices
- Check headlights, body lights, signals and outside reflectors.
- Service brakes, including the trailer brake connections, and parking brake.
- Inspect and repair hydraulic lift cylinders regularly
And here are some tips for recognizing and avoiding hazardous conditions:
- Training and practice. New drivers of these types of vehicles need practice and training PRIOR to harvest so they are able to drive safely.
- Use safe distances. Trucks take more time to stop, steer, and switch lanes.
- Load properly. Overloaded trucks are much more dangerous. Both the driving of the vehicle and the dumping of the load is more dangerous if the load is too large for the Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW). Most vehicles have the GVW inside the driver side door.
- Ensure stability when dumping. Raised truck or trailer beds are unstable and can cause tipping incidents. Ensure ground is level and firm, avoid dumping on windy days, do not jack knife the trailer, and ensure the load is not off center.
- Ensure the trailer is properly hitched to the pulling vehicle.
- Make sure to avoid any overhead power lines while operating a dump trailer/truck. Contact with the truck and power line can result in electrocution of the driver.