As farmers begin the harvest season and agricultural traffic increases, leading rural insurer NFU Mutual is urging all rural road users to take extra care over the coming months.
The harvest season is already underway in many places, with livestock farmers making their vital first cut of silage to build stores to feed cattle through next winter. Silage cutting is followed by hay making, generally from June onwards, with arable crop harvesting taking place through July and August.
Coinciding with the hotter weather when people look to explore the countryside, harvest season brings a greater need for all road users to respect their fellow road users and the hazards common on country roads, says the leading rural insurer. The next few months will see higher volumes of agricultural traffic than in Autumn and Winter, including many tractors pulling heavy silage and grain trailers or wide agricultural machinery.
The latest claims data from NFU Mutual shows that collisions between agricultural vehicles and third parties were 52% more likely between the start of May and the end of September 2022 than in any other months. On average, there were 423 of these accidents per month during the silage cutting, hay making, and harvesting season, compared to 249 per month between October and April.
As well as an increase in agricultural traffic, the summer months also coincide with the school holidays and a greater amount of leisure traffic, with road users not necessarily used to rural roads, which can further increase the risk of accidents.
The increase in agricultural vehicles in the road coincides with the sunnier weather and school holidays to greatly increase the volume of traffic on rural roads during this time.