Road Safety Tips from Farm Safety Nova Scotia

This article was originally published in Farm Focus magazine. For more from Farm Focus,

Spring is here again! This time of year brings warmer days, increased daylight hours, and the need to get seeds in the ground. Travelling on the road from the farm to the field safely is a necessary part of a successful planting season. It’s an exciting time, but we also need to make sure that everyone gets home safely at the end of the day. Many farmers may feel uncomfortable or nervous when travelling with their equipment on public roads, but don’t forget that tractors and farm machinery have the same right to the road as everyone else. By following the safety tips below, you can ensure that you are doing your part to keep everyone on the road safe.

Pre-Trip Inspections

Before you hit the road, make sure that you can travel with confidence knowing that your gear has been given a pre-trip inspection. Taking a minute to do a walk-around before you move the machinery ensures that no unknown obstructions are in the way.

  • Check your fluids, instruments, and lights.
  • Be sure that your Slow-Moving Vehicle sign is in place and easily visible to others on the road.
  • Ensure that your brake pedals are locked together before road transport.
  • If you’re hauling a trailer or implement, check that the correct hitch pin, safety clips, and safety chains are in place, as well as any other safety features the implement requires.

All implements should be locked in the travel position when travelling on public roads. Don’t forget to raise the implement jack and move it out of the way!


Making your equipment as visible as possible gives other drivers more time to react to your slow-moving vehicle. Slow Moving Vehicle signs should be used if you are travelling under 40 km/h and installed on both tractors and trailers or implements. Mounting fluorescent flags or amber warning lights on oversized equipment provides an extra layer of visibility that alerts other drivers that you are larger than other vehicles on the road. Hazard lights are also an excellent way to increase visibility and should be used when travelling on the road. However, they can also cause other drivers to miss the warning when you put on your signal light. Before you turn on your signal light, turn off your hazard lights for a second or two to draw attention back to you, then signal the direction that you intend to go.

The Trip Home

The trip home is equally as important as the trip to the field. A day of fieldwork can cause wear and tear on your equipment, and another pre-trip inspection should be completed before you’re on the road again.  Check your fluids, instruments, and lights as usual, but pay special attention to the overall condition of the machinery. Have your tires maintained proper inflation? Are the hitch pins still in good condition? Are your mirrors still in the correct position? Is there any debris caught on the equipment that could fall onto the road? Dust covering the tractor can reduce your ability to see all of the road, and you may want to keep a clean rag handy to clean off your cab, mirrors, and lights before you go. Don’t forget to make your equipment ready for road transport again by re-locking your brake pedals together and switching implements back over to the travel position.

Sometimes it’s impossible to not track mud on the road, but leaving field debris on the pavement can create a serious hazard for other drivers. Under Nova Scotia legislation, it’s illegal to leave an obstruction of any form on the road. The person who left the obstruction is subject to a fine and the cost of clean-up. Therefore, it’s recommended to come back and remove any build-up that you have left on the road.

One Road

Stay tuned for our annual One Road campaign, which highlights the importance of road safety and the responsibility we all share in keeping each other safe on the road. One Road will launch in July and comes with its own set of resources for farm equipment operators and awareness for the driving public.

Travelling on the road is a reality of modern agriculture, but it is a manageable hazard. By performing your due diligence in equipment maintenance, visibility, and safe driving practices, you have taken steps to mitigate the hazard and help keep everyone safe. We all share the road, and safety is everyone’s responsibility.

For more on road safety, visit our website: . There you will find the Transportation Guidelines for Nova Scotia Farmers Guidebook and free online courses on Agricultural Road Safety, Tractor and Farm Machinery Awareness, and more. We can also arrange for license endorsement testing for you or your staff if you need your driver’s license upgraded.

For more information, contact us at or by calling 902-893-2293.