Here are some key points.
- It takes just a split second for a tractor to overturn.
- A rollover protective structure (ROPS) with a seat belt greatly reduces the risk of injury from an overturn.
- Always be on the alert for rocks, stumps and other hazards.
What causes tractors to overturn?
- Each year, hundreds of people in the United States are killed in tractor accidents. The majority of these deaths occur because of tractors that overturn.
- Sometimes a tractor tips over on its side. Other times, it tips over backward.
- These overturns occur very quickly – often in a second or two. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave enough time for the operator to escape.
- Some of the major causes of tractor overturns are:
- driving too fast for conditions
- running into obstructions, such as rocks, stumps, ditches or holes
- turning corners too sharply, especially with a narrow front end tractor
- driving or turning too quickly on steep slopes
- hitching above the normal drawbar height
- operating with a heavy or shifting load in a front-end loader raised too high
- Your chances of surviving a tractor overturn without serious injury are very good if the tractor has a rollover protective structure – or ROPS – and you are wearing a seat belt.
- A ROPS is a cab or frame that is specially designed to keep you within a protective zone if your tractor overturns. It’s important to wear the seat belt so you aren’t thrown from the tractor, then crushed by the overturning tractor.
- If your tractor is equipped with a folding ROPS, make sure it is in the upright position whenever you are outside the low clearance application.
Rollover protective structures
Sometimes a tractor tips over on its side. Other times, it tips over backward. These overturns occur very quickly – often in a second or two.
Don’t drive near the edge of a gully, irrigation ditch or steep embankment. The ground could give way.
Never allow passengers on a tractor.
Tips to help prevent overturns
- Always be on the alert for potential hazards. These may include rocks, stumps, slippery surfaces, steep slopes or rough terrain. Drive slowly.
- Slow down when turning corners.
- Stay as far away as possible from ditches and holes.
- Don’t drive near the edge of a gully, irrigation ditch or steep embankment. The ground could give way.
- Avoid driving on steep slopes if possible. If you must:
- Back the tractor up the hill to help keep weight on the front wheels.
- Drive smoothly. Don’t stop or shift gears.
- Drive forward down the hill, keeping the tractor in low gear.
A few more safety tips
- Don’t drive a tractor if you are overtired or ill.
- Familiarize yourself with any new terrain.
- Check around the tractor before moving and look around before turning or changing direction.
- Never allow passengers on a tractor.
- Always turn the tractor off after it has stopped. Use the parking brake or shift to the “park” position. Then remove the key.
Tractor Safety Do’s and Don’ts
- Always wear the seat belt if your tractor is equipped with a rollover protective structure in the upright position.
- Go slowly when turning and when driving on slippery, steep or rough terrain.
- Keep the front-end loader as low as possible when carrying a load.
- Pull a load that’s heavier than your tractor can safely handle. Be especially careful on hilly ground.
- Drive forward up a hill. Back the tractor up the hill instead.
- Take your eyes off of the terrain ahead of you. Always look where you are going.