LOOK OUT. Slow down. Take care.
These are the three messages farmers are asking all motorists to observe when travelling country roads as part of the ‘Common Roads, Common Sense’ campaign.
This new road safety initiative was developed by the National Farmers’ Federation and launched near Wagga Wagga by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack.
NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar said large agricultural vehicles (LAVs), such as tractors, harvesters and spray rigs, were particularly active on public roads around this time of year.
“Across Australia’s grain growing areas, harvest is starting or fast approaching and when farmers are moving machinery between paddocks they often require time on public roads,” Mr Mahar said.
“For motorists, encountering an LAV can be nerve-wracking and confusing.”
To keep all road users safe, and to assist farmers to get on with the job of producing food and fibre, the NFF has developed a simple three-step process to help guide driver behaviour:
1. Look out: Roads are built for all Australians and not all vehicles travel at maximum speed. Be aware of farmers, cyclists and trucks that might be slower.
2. Slow down: Most accidents with LAVs in Australia are rear-end collisions due to differing travelling speeds. Slow down when you see a slower vehicle ahead.
3. Take care: When overtaking, make sure it is safe to do so and you have enough space — take a moment to evaluate the situation. When an LAV heads your way slow down and give the oncoming vehicles plenty of space.
The campaign is symbolised by the iconic ‘fingers off the steering wheel country wave’ often favoured by drivers as a gesture of on-road mateship
Mr Mahar said common sense and mutual respect were at the core of ensuring public roads could be safely shared by all users, including farmers operating LAVs.
“Farmers take their responsibility to keep our communities safe very seriously, and recognise moving large machines like tractors and harvesters can cause some inconvenience to other drivers and hamper the flow of traffic,” Mr Mahar said.
“Farmers will always move out of the way in these vehicles where we can, but we want to work as a team with other road users to use common sense when we do need to interact, and to follow the three simple steps of ‘look out, slow down and take care’.”
Mr Mahar said the movement of large machinery on public roads was an essential operational element of Australia’s vibrant agricultural sector.
“Agriculture is one of Australia’s most important contributors to local communities and to the national economy, set to be worth $60 billion in 2018–19 while employing 1.6 million people across the supply chain,” he said.
“Large machinery is also critical to keeping farmers on their way to growing the food and fibre which feeds our nation, with 93 per cent of Australia’s food supply grown here on home shores.
“We welcome visitors into the regions, and want farming’s positive contributions to extend to how we share the roads with all drivers.
“Next time you’re on the road and encounter a farmer driving or hauling large machinery, please ‘look out, slow down and take care’, because sharing common roads successfully really just requires common sense and patience from all parties involved.”