Motorists and farmers around Rugby are being warned of the dangers posed during the harvest season.
The Safer Roads Partnership and Warwickshire Police say the increased activity at this time of year typically results in a rise in accidents, many of which are preventable.
A significant proportion of the collisions involving agricultural vehicles occur on rural roads with 60mph speed limits, and many near turnings into farms. 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.
Chief Inspector Steve Owen of Warwickshire Police sasaid: “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, communications manager at the Safer Roads Partnership, said: “We appreciate that during this time of year farmers have to increasingly use the region’s roads to transport their crops and that this will affect local traffic at times. Although many drivers of agricultural vehicles use the roads in a responsible way, we are reminding them to be aware of the impact they can have and consider other road users while they undertake their work. During busy traffic periods, pull into a lay-by or safe place to allow other vehicles to pass safely, to avoid traffic build-up and prevent unsafe overtaking manoeuvres.
“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.”
Drivers of agricultural vehicles or anyone wishing to report any issues regarding debris or mud on the road can contact Warwickshire County Council on (01926) 412515.