SafetyWatch: Safely operate a landscape tractor

September 18, 2019 -  By
Landscape tractor (Photo: Greenius)

Photo: Greenius

Follow these guidelines to employ safe practices when using a tractor.

  • Ensure you have a slow-moving vehicle sign or other device to alert other drivers;
  • Be cautious as tractors don’t handle or brake as well as cars or trucks;
  • Don’t make sudden changes in direction;
  • Be aware that a heavier rear piece of equipment like a mower will lessen the weight on the front tires;
  • Never engage the differential lock while driving at high speeds;
  • Make sure the two brake pedals are properly interlocked. Braking with only one pedal at high speeds may cause a loss of control;
  • Be sure that the three-point hitch doesn’t accidentally drop while running on the road;
  • Never drive on the road in four-wheel drive unless conditions are slippery;
  • It’s also crucial to not operate the tractor in an unventilated space and to wear personal protective equipment as recommended. Don’t start or operate the tractor from anywhere other than the tractor seat and don’t bypass safety systems;
  • Wear a seat belt when operating a tractor that has a rollover protection system (ROPS) and don’t wear a seat belt when there is no ROPS;
  • void handling the tractor on a sideways slope. Approach slopes straight up and down when possible. (Driving up a slope backward is the safest approach.) Avoid turning or changing gears on slopes;
  • Park on flat ground with the parking brake set. Don’t leave the tractor’s transmission functions all in neutral; leave a manual transmission’s tractor in gear when parked and not running and the shuttle lever in neutral;
  • Exercise caution when digging or lifting heavy loads; the tractor can become unbalanced if the whole load is on one side of the bucket.

Source: Greenius

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