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Increase in collisions on rural roads during harvest period

NFU Mutual recently published data showing that collisions between agricultural vehicles and other vehicles are 52% more likely to occur between the start of May and the end of September.  This is based upon data for 2022.  

It also noted that there were 423 incidents per month during silage cutting, haymaking and harvesting season in comparison to 249 per month during October and April.

It's a time when there is an increase in farm traffic on the roads due to harvest season, coinciding with increased traffic on rural roads during school holidays and also in traditionally popular months for holidays to be taken. 

The statistics from NFU Mutual are a timely reminder for all road users in rural areas to take care whilst using the rural road network.  NFU has also published a helpful guide to respecting rural roads.  This includes a reminder of some of the rules in the Highway Code such as giving plenty of space when overtaking, in particular vulnerable road users such as walkers, runners, horse riders and cyclists.

When driving on rural roads, the hazards and challenges can be different to those encountered on motorways and roads in urban areas.  For example, tractors or other agricultural vehicles are likely to be using field entrances to gain access to and from the road.  There is also an increased possibility of mud on the road from farm vehicles which cannot always be cleaned up whilst work is ongoing.   It is also important to ensure overtaking takes place only when it is safe for all road users.

Road users being alert to unexpected hazards or dangers, driving in accordance with the Highway Code and taking extra care on rural roads, remembering there may be hazards such as tighter carriageways, blind corners, or animals or pedestrians in the road, should help to reduce the number of collisions.

As a serious injury lawyer, I've helped many vulnerable road users including horse riders, cyclists and pedestrians who have been injured on rural roads.  I've also assisted those working in the farming industry and car drivers who have been injured.

I welcome any guidance and advice from organizations such as NFU Mutual and other rural safety campaigns which can assist in highlighting the dangers and hopefully go some way to reducing the number of incidents on rural roads generally.

Find out more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise in supporting people and families following road collisions at our dedicated road traffic accidents claims section.

"With more people using country roads during the summer months, it is important we are all patient and show respect to other road users.””