22nd Oct, 2016

Drivers warned as harvest approaches

Evesham Editorial 4th Sep, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

MOTORISTS driving ‘recklessly’ on rural roads are being targeted as part of efforts to decrease the number of collisions during the harvest season.

The Safer Roads Partnership, Warwickshire Police and West Mercia are warning drivers to take extra care as farmers use the roads more at this time of year.

With many crops requiring harvest and transportation, farmers often only have a short window of opportunity in order to ensure consumers can enjoy the produce in prime condition.

However, police say this burst of activity traditionally sees a ‘rise in road collisions’, with many of them involving agricultural vehicles.

The typical causes of the collisions are poor overtaking manoeuvres and inappropriate speed, with drivers finding themselves unable to stop in time when presented with a slow moving or wide vehicle.

A further hazard is caused by mud and debris being brought onto the roads by tractors and other vehicles that have been working in the fields.

In the last three years, there have been 75 collisions across Warwickshire and West Mercia where mud was recorded as a contributory factor.

Chief Insp Adrian Knight, head of the force operations department at Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police said: “Every year we face problems with agricultural vehicles leaving large amounts of mud and debris on the roads during the harvest season.

“While the majority of farmers take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.

“We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act.

“We have already taken action against offenders who haven’t complied with this legislation and will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible.”

Anna Higgins, of the Safer Roads Partnership, added: “We would also like to remind general motorists that extra care and patience should be taken during the harvest season when there is a necessity for more agricultural vehicles to be on the roads.

“While it can be frustrating travelling behind an agricultural vehicle it’s not worth getting impatient and putting yourself and other road users at risk with dangerous manoeuvres.”

Anyone with issues regarding debris or mud on the road are being encouraged to call the Worcestershire Hub on 01905 765765.