POLICE are asking motorists to be more patient with congestion and slow moving vehicles as farmers enter their busiest period for the harvest.

Northumbria Police’s Neighbourhood Inspector Pam Bridges urged drivers to take extra care during this time, especially when overtaking larger, slow moving vehicles such as trailers, tractors and machinery.

She said: “During the summer months, we see a lot more vehicles travelling on our region’s roads as people return from their holidays and as our farm workers enter one of their busiest periods.

“With that in mind, we would advise anyone travelling to take care, plan their journey and allocate extra time.

“We know traffic jams and slow moving vehicles can be frustrating, but take the time to consider all of the other road users so that everyone can reach their destination safely.

“Whether or not you know the roads, be extra-careful when overtaking and keep your distance from other vehicles as there may be unseen hazards ahead. Unexpected hazards may occur such as debris in the carriageway, collisions, or weather including bright or low sunshine and torrential rain or flash floods.

“Also make sure your vehicle is road worthy and consider it may handle differently when fully loaded allowing extra distance for braking.

“Lastly, always ensure that you are well rested, and of course, do not drink and drive.”

Working with Cheshire Police Force, NFU Farm Transport and Safety Policy Adviser Tom Price has also shared on his blog some advice on what farmers can do to avoid collisions when out on the road.

This included tractor drivers pulling over when safe to do so to allow tailbacks to pass, to avoid a potential head on collision from overtaking motorists.

Tom said a left-turn collision, which occurs when a tractor begins to turn left at the same time that a road user attempts to overtake, could be best avoided by tractor drivers ensuring that all manoeuvres are clearly signalled.

Rear-end collisions, Tom said, were often caused by the road user being unable to see, or if the driver misjudged the speed of a tractor and hit the rear end.

To prevent this, tractors not capable of exceeding 25mph could use an amber beacon to ensure that they are clearly visible to other road users.

In certain circumstances, the use of a beacon is obligatory. He also said that tractor drivers should also make sure that their brake lights were fully working, and brakes used to clearly show to other motorists that they were slowing down.