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NFU Mutual supports to Tilly pass.

NFU Mutual advises farmers on safe tractor use on roads as lorry driver shortage hits harvest

  • Lorry driver shortage hitting farm

harvest transport

  • Farmers forced to use tractors and trailers more for harvest road haulage

  • NFU Mutual urges farmers to check tractor and trailer brakes regularly to ensure safety on roads

NFU Mutual is urging farmers forced to use their own tractors and trailers for harvest transport because of the current shortage of lorry drivers to regularly check brakes and hitch mechanisms.

The warning comes as the nation faces disruption to road transport because of a shortage of lorry drivers which is affecting deliveries to supermarkets, hospitality, the construction trade and agriculture.

The leading rural insurer is providing advice to help farmers make sure that tractors and trailers are correctly matched and maintenance schedules are in place to minimise the risk of accidents.

NFU Mutual is also recommending that all tractor drivers take regular breaks to avoid fatigue and that routes are chosen which avoid congested roads as much as possible.

To help farmers keep safe, NFU Mutual supports the Tilly Your Trailer initiative which enables farmers to get their trailers inspected and get a Tilly Pass which confirms that trailers are safe for road use and comply with safety legislation.

Gwyn Barlow of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd, said: “Harvest is the toughest time of the year for arable farmers – and this year the nationwide shortage of lorry drivers is adding to the pressures.

“Travelling across rough fields and through muddy gateways takes its toll on farm machinery so we are advising farmers to regularly check that brakes are working correctly, lights and indicators can be seen, and windows and mirrors are clean.

“We’re also asking the public to be patient when driving behind tractors for a few minutes and appreciate the need to get the harvest in to feed the nation.”

Tractor and Trailer Road Safety Checklist:

  • Make sure tractors and trailers are maintained according to manufacturers’ schedules and records kept

  • Check your insurance covers you for additional transport work

  • Ensure that tractor and trailer lights are working correctly and are clean

  • Ensure cab windows and mirrors are clean and intact

  • Regularly check trailer hitch eyes for wear

  • Make sure flashing orange beacons are fitted and used when legally required

  • Keep trailer loads within manufacturers’ capacity ratings

  • Pull in when safe to do so, to let following traffic overtake

  • Ensure tractor drivers watch out for impatient following drivers trying to overtake when tractors slow down to turn right into fields and farm tracks

  • Plan transport routes carefully to avoid congested roads and peak traffic times when possible

  • Make sure tractors are correctly matched to trailer weights and have compatible braking systems and comply with the complex laws governing tractor and trailer weights, distances travelled, axle combinations, braking systems and speed limits

  • Provide tractor drivers with training on farm equipment and maintenance schedules

  • Make sure tractor seat belts are in good condition and used by drivers

  • Make sure drivers take regular breaks to avoid fatigue

  • Instruct tractor drivers not to use mobile phones while driving


For further information, please contact:

Rebecca Davidson, Rural Affairs Specialist

Find more of our press releases at the NFU Mutual Media

About NFU Mutual: NFU Mutual offers a wide range of products, including general insurance, life, pensions, and investments. These products and services are delivered through our network of NFU Mutual Agent offices, as well as through our direct sales and service centres. With over 300 local businesses located in rural towns and villages throughout the UK, NFU Mutual has become part of the fabric of rural life and remains committed to serving the needs of our members nationwide.

NFU Mutual is proud to deliver more than simply insurance. Making farming safer, supporting rural initiatives across the UK and helping to look after the environment are just some of the ways we do that. To find out more about everything we do to support our communities, visit

About NFU Mutual Risk Management Services:

NFU Mutual Risk Management Services Ltd (RMS) is a wholly owned subsidiary of NFU Mutual. It provides risk management advice to NFU Mutual customers to enable them to comply with legislation and reduce the risk of accidents on their farms.

About Tilly Your Trailer:

The Tilly Pass scheme provides safety inspections for farm trailers


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