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Country Skills

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Safe Tractor Operation

1. Securely Fasten Your Seat Belt if the Tractor has a ROPS (Roll Over Protective Structure).

All tractors equipped with a ROPS have safety belts to keep the operator in the seat if the tractor should tip over. Older tractors that do not have a ROPS should not be equipped with a seat belt.

2. Where Possible, Avoid Operating the Tractor Near Ditches, Embankments, and Holes.

Constantly watch for holes and ditches that may be hidden by tall grass and weeds. Use extreme care when operating in areas not familiar to the operator. The operator should be instructed to drive at least as far from the edge of the bank as the ditch is deep. This will help prevent the bank from collapsing. If the operator happens to drive off the edge of the roadway onto a sloping area, he should throttle down and turn down the slope, not attempt to pull back onto the road immediately.

3. Reduce Speed When Turning, Crossing Slopes, and on Rough, Slick or Muddy Surfaces

If a tractor is turned while traveling fast, centrifugal force decreases the stability of the tractor. Tractor upsets are more likely to occur on slopes, especially if a front end loader is used. Keep the load low while moving. Keep the brakes locked together for road use and space the rear wheels as wide as practical (particularly on tricycle type tractors). When the tractor bounces, it loses stability. Front end ballast helps on rough or loose surfaces. An increase in speed from 5 to 15 mph increases the strength of the centrifugal force, acting on the tractor in a turn, nine times. Make all turns as wide as possible.

4. Stay Off Slopes Too Steep For Safe Operations.

If the tractor must be operated on slopes, try to do the following; Go down steep slopes in low gear (at least as low as the gear needed to drive up such a slope). If it is necessary to go up steep slopes, back up them slowly when possible. Keep the rear wheels (and front, if possible) set as wide as practical when operating across slopes.

5. Watch Where You Are Going, Especially at Row Ends, on Roads, and Around Trees.

When operating trailed implements in fields with obstructions and surface rocks, be alert to what is in the path of operation as well as watching the implement behind the tractor. Use rear view mirrors, if possible, and slow down at row ends.

6. Do Not Permit Others To Ride.

Make it a rule; No Seat, No Rider! Children should never be allowed to ride on a tractor. The consequences of children or adults falling from a moving tractor are likely to range from a severe injury to death.

7. Operate the Tractor Smoothly-No Jerky Turns, Starts, or Stops

Try to engage the clutch before increasing engine speed when starting on slopes. Sudden release of the clutch with full throttle could cause the front of the tractor to raise, particularly when headed up a slope. Locked wheel turns by using one brake are also hazardous.

8. Hitch Only to the Drawbar and Hitch Points Recommended by Tractor Manufacturers

Loads hitched to the rear axle or to the rear lift arms can cause backward flips. Check the operator's manual for allowable hitch points on each tractor.

9. When the Tractor is Stopped, Set Brakes Securely and Use Park Lock if Available.

Turn off the tractor engine and set the brakes before dismounting. Place blocks at the rear wheels if on a slope. On manual transmissions, place the gear shift in the lowest forward or reverse gear.

KP, WA, entered 1999-12-17

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