Safe Driving Tips

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If operators drive farm vehicles on or across public roads, it is advisable to have a valid driver's licence.

As a farm machinery operator, you can make road travel safer for yourself and others by taking precautions. Use the following checklist to assess your precautions.
  • I avoid busy roads whenever possible, even if travel time will be longer.
  • I use trained and licensed drivers when moving equipment.
  • Some rural railway crossings have poor visibility. I always stop and make sure the way is clear before crossing.

  • All of my tractors are equipped with roll-over protective structures (ROPS). I wear a seatbelt, knowing the ROPS are ineffective in a roll over without a seatbelt.

You must wear a seatbelt for the ROPS to be effective.
  • I travel at a speed that will allow me to maintain full control at all times.
  • I slow down when making turns or rounding curves. Side roll overs or entering a ditch are among the main causes of death with equipment on the road.
  • I observe road travel precautions listed in my operator manuals. Some tractors free wheel in higher gears. This can be very dangerous when coming down a hill. I use lower gear ranges when climbing or descending hills.

Gear down when climbing or descending hills.
  • I stay alert for hazards such as soft shoulders, narrow bridges, loose gravel, bumps, potholes and deep ruts.

Pull over on a shoulder, if it is unobstructed, to let traffic pass.
  • When cars are lined up behind me, and a suitable shoulder is available, I pull over to let traffic pass. I make sure that the shoulder is of sufficient width and solid enough to handle my equipment. If there are obstructions, such as deep ruts or mailboxes in the way, I avoid shoulders.
  • If possible, I move equipment in daylight during periods of light traffic.
  • I travel after dark only if absolutely necessary and use proper lighting for night driving.
  • I do not pull onto a road in front of moving traffic. I enter and exit roads very cautiously. I assume that other vehicles are traveling at the speed limit and adjust accordingly when pulling out.
  • I always signal my intention to make a turn.
  • I slow down when leaving the road, including when I pull onto a shoulder or turn into a lane.

Rollovers occur on the highway because an operator tries to slow down too fast or make a sharp turn.
  • I obey traffic laws and signs.
  • Oversized equipment requires careful planning when transporting. I check out the route in advance for obstacles such as narrow bridges or roads with no shoulders.

Photo credit: Rick Taillieu
  • I use a pilot vehicle as a guide for large machinery and to warn motorists of oncoming large equipment.
  • I never take extra riders on equipment.
  • I avoid other distractions while driving including eating food, smoking, using a cellphone, etc.
Your farm tractor and other self-propelled implements are vehicles and subject to Criminal Code driving prohibitions. It is illegal to operate any vehicle while you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs that can impair you.

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Other Documents in the Series

  Safe Transporation of Farm Equipment Section 1
Hazards on Rural Roads
Types of Road Incidents Resulting in Injury and Death
Prevention of Farm Equipment Incidents on Public Roads
Safe Driving Tips - Current Document
Defensive Driving Tips for You as a Rural Motorist
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This information published to the web on March 25, 2009.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 24, 2017.