Keeping roads safe during 2020 harvest
Published: 03 Dec 2020 12:08pm
With a great harvest expected this season, more trucks will be transporting loads of crops on country roads over the next couple of months and motorists are being urged to be patient and respect others.
Wagga Wagga City Council Road Safety Officer Emma Reynolds said numbers of trains on local lines will also increase which means road users need to stay alert, share the road and be aware of rail crossings as they travel across the region.
“Movement of large agricultural machinery on public roads is essential. While farmers will move out of the way when it is safe for them to do so, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is encouraging motorists to “Look Out, Slow Down and Take Care” with patience needed from all road users,” Mrs Reynolds said.
“Farming machinery in paddocks can stir up dust, reducing visibility on nearby roads so it’s essential that road users drive to the conditions, turn on their headlights and slow down when visibility is reduced. Large agricultural machinery has limitations in terms of ease of movement and stopping distances. These machines can be much longer and wider than expected.”
Mrs Reynolds said road users who stop to take photos of crops should be cautious and consider everyone’s safety.
“Many paddocks are located alongside 100km/hr speed zones, increasing the risk of crashes or pedestrian fatalities around parked cars. Children should always hold the hand of an adult when in the traffic environment. Entering crops or paddocks is trespassing,” she said.
Fatigue is still one of the biggest killers on NSW roads and farmers in Wagga are working long hours during harvest season, so it’s important they look after themselves and take regular breaks. Fatigue will be increased in inexperienced seasonal workers with long hours, heat and dust, and drivers are urged to be on the lookout for signs of fatigue and pull over safely if tired.
Those transporting grain are reminded to abide by Chain of Responsibility legislation as enforcement will be undertaken across the region. Vehicles must comply with restrictions and loads need to be secured and within weight.
Road users are urged to think road safety and respect others on the road and remember the following tips for staying safe this Harvest season;
- Slow down, be patient and share the road
- Watch for vehicles entering or leaving the road
- Keep to the speed limit
- Drive to the conditions, especially when visibility is low due to dust, smoke or haze
- Be aware of railway crossings
- Keep headlights on day and night
- If you see a pilot vehicle, it means an oversize vehicle is approaching Prepare to slow down and change your lane position. Oversize vehicles need extra space
- Oversize vehicles have blind spots and may not see you. Take extra care, wait until safe and leave plenty of room when overtaking