OTTAWA — As planting season begins, farmers are going to be hauling out equipment, driving the roads and planting in a hurry.
It’s worth taking the time to make sure you have lights and signs on your tractor or planter and that the lights work and the signs are clear, agricultural safety specialist Rob Gobeil said.
Gobeil, who works for the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association, says accidents often occur when there’s little light or when going over hills. Low-light conditions can be mitigated by clean, reflective signage, but hills are hard to manage, he said.
Rear-ending farm equipment is not uncommon. Western Ontario saw three accidents just last month: A milk truck driver was charged for rear-ending a tractor north of Kitchener and two horse-drawn buggies were rear-ended by drivers. Also last month, the RCMP announced that the driver that rear-ended dairy farmers Henk and Bettina Schuurmans, killing Bettina, while they were on their cross-country dairy tour last year would not be charged.
Part of the onus simply falls on regular drivers, which farmers have no control over. Gobeil also recommended trying to avoid main roads and trying to stay off the roads during peak hours.
For farmers, he recommended not driving straight home after a long day in the field. Take five minutes to get out and stretch, or take a short nap to refresh yourself.