When it comes to tractor safety, there is a lot of confusion. Who is allowed to drive a tractor? Where can a tractor be driven? Are there laws surrounding tractor safety? Is it legal to drive a tractor on the road without a license?
In this article, we discuss these concerns and others regarding tractor safety. We also provide smart tips to help ensure tractor driving safety. Read on to learn more.
What You'll Learn Today
- 5 Tractor Safety Questions & Answers
- 7 Tractor Safety Tips
5 Tractor Safety Questions & Answers
1. Is it legal to drive a tractor on the road without a license?
Surprisingly, in the United States there are no vehicle drivers’ license requirements for driving a tractor on the public roads.
Additionally, there are no age requirements; however, in some states youngsters under the age of sixteen who are working away from their parents’ own farm need to have certification for operating farm equipment in the fields or on the highways.
2. How safe is it for children to operate farm equipment?
The lack of regulation around children operating tractors is not an indication that this is a safe practice. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean you should do it.
Generally speaking, a sensible, responsible fifteen or sixteen-year-old could probably handle driving a tractor on the public roads occasionally, but younger children should definitely be limited to supervised heavy equipment operation on their parents’ own property.
How To Drive A Tractor
3. Can a tractor be driven for personal errands?
Absolutely not! Tractors should only be driven on the public roads to get from one field to another. A tractor cannot be used as a means of transportation for a licensed driver or an unlicensed driver. It can only be taken for short trips for the specific purpose of agricultural business or activities.
4. Should dangerous tractor driving be reported?
If you see a tractor being driven in an unsafe manner on the public roads, you should definitely call 911. People can be killed or injured in tractor accidents just as easily as they can be killed or injured in car accidents.
In fact, in the state of Minnesota in a two-year period (2011 – 2013) there were nearly 400 tractor crashes on the public roads. Over two hundred people were injured in these accidents and fourteen people died.
5. Is it dangerous to drive a tractor on the public roads?
Crashes between private vehicles and farm equipment such as tractors are usually caused by unsafe passing, speeding on the part of the private vehicles and/or inattention on the part of the operators of both or either vehicle.
For this reason, it’s very important for tractor operators on the public roads to take every safety precaution. Simultaneously, drivers of private vehicles must be cautious and alert around farm equipment on the roads.
7 Tractor Safety Tips
1. Use a slow-moving vehicle sign
It’s very important that anyone driving a tractor on the public roads affix a slow moving vehicle sign to the vehicle. This is the law of the road.
The sign should be mounted correctly between three and five feet above the level of the pavement, directly in the center of the load. The sign must be in good condition and easy to read.
2. Use flashing lights and red flags
Tractors should also have flashing lights to draw attention to the vehicle. Red flags are also helpful, but neither of these are a substitute for a proper slow-moving vehicle sign.
3. Don’t tow too many implements
Only tow the number of implements behind your tractor that are allowed by your state. Generally speaking, you cannot tow more than two implements behind you on the public roads. If you fail to obey the laws of your state, you run the risk of being ticketed, or worse causing an accident.
4. Obey the three car rule
Always pull over to allow cars to pass. In most states, there is a “three car rule”. This means that whenever you see three cars backed up behind you, you must pull over to the side as soon as you can safely do so and let them pass.
You should also be courteous. If there’s only one car behind you, and you are able to pull over and let them pass, do so.
5. Become skilled at tractor driving
Know how to drive a tractor and how to follow the rules of the road. Anyone of any age driving a tractor on the public roads should be very familiar with how to drive a tractor safely.
He or she should also know how to signal his or her intention, how to judge the speed of oncoming vehicles and how to remain alert and attentive to traffic conditions in general.
6. Make it easy for motorists to see your entire rig
Be sure that the implements you are towing can be easily seen. Check on your state’s requirements regarding flashing lights and reflectors.
Flashing lights placed at the end and along the sides of an implement in tow should be highly visible. This can help prevent having motorists move into your lane without being able to see the implement you are towing.
7. Keep tractor driving on the road to a minimum
Only drive tractors on the public roads in broad daylight, and only drive from one field to another. Any deviation from these guidelines could result in a traffic citation or a wreck. Also, if your tractor has been out of use for a longer time, make sure it works properly.