The Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia are today warning motorists of the dangers that may be present during this time of year as farmers are using the roads more when harvesting and moving their produce.
Agriculture is one of Shropshire’s major industries and harvesting a wide variety of crops at this time of the year sees an increase in agricultural vehicles on the road. The Partnership is reminding farmers that leaving mud and debris on the road is an offence under the Highways Act and is a potential hazard to other road users.
Excess mud on the road is a danger to cars, motorbikes and cyclists and can change the way a vehicle handles causing skidding, especially in wet conditions. Farmers and contractors have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are cleared of any mud or debris before entering onto the public highway. Drivers of agricultural vehicles are also being urged to consider other road users whilst they undergo their work and to pull into lay-bys or safe places to allow other vehicles to pass safely, avoiding traffic build up and unsafe over taking manoeuvres. Failure to do so may lead to prosecution of the driver for careless or inconsiderate driving.
Motorists are reminded that they need to take extra care on rural roads during this time and just because they feel they ‘know the road’, the conditions and presence of other vehicles changes every day.
Vicki Bristow, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia, says: "We appreciate that during this time of the year farmers are having to increasingly use the regions roads to transport their crops around but we are reminding them that debris and mud left behind on the roads can present a significant road safety issue for other motorists. We would also like to remind motorists that extra care should be taken during this time of year and that they should be aware that more agricultural vehicles will be using the roads.”
Any drivers of agricultural vehicles or anyone wishing to report any issues regarding debris or mud on the road can contact Shropshire County Council on 0345 678 9006 or Telford & Wrekin Council on 01952 384000 for advice.