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Farmers using their own tractors and trailers to transport harvested crops are reminded to check brakes and hitch mechanisms regularly. Reminder to make sure tractors and trailers are safe on the roads

Farmers using their own tractors and trailers to transport harvested crops are reminded to check brakes and hitch mechanisms regularly.

The warning comes as the nation faces disruption to road transport because of a shortage of lorry drivers which is affecting deliveries to supermarkets, hospitality, the construction trade and agriculture.

With the sugar beet and maize harvests under way, NFU Mutual says it is providing advice to help farmers make sure that tractors and trailers are correctly matched – and maintenance schedules are in place to minimise the risk of accidents.

The rural insurer is also recommending that all tractor drivers take regular breaks to avoid fatigue. Routes should be chosen which avoid congested roads as much as possible, it says.

Tilly Your Trailer

To help farmers keep safe, NFU Mutual is supporting the Tilly Your Trailer initiative. It enables farmers to have their trailers inspected and get a Tilly Pass which confirms that they are safe for road use and comply with safety legislation.

Gwyn Barlow, of NFU Mutual Risk Management Services, said: “Harvest is the toughest time of the year for arable farmers – and this year the nationwide shortage of lorry drivers is adding to the pressures.

“Travelling across rough fields and through muddy gateways takes its toll on farm machinery so we are advising farmers to regularly check that brakes are working correctly, lights and indicators can be seen, and windows and mirrors are clean.”

Safety campaigner and Tilly Your Trailer founder Jane Gurney said the lorry driver shortage was raising a huge concern about the maintenance of agricultural trailers that will now be running for prolonged periods of time on the road.

“Many trailers work long hard hours and have had unqualified and inadequate maintenance over a number of years,” said Mrs Gurney, whose son Harry was killed in a trailer accident in 2014.

“When we launched the Tilly Trailer Pass in 2018 we did so on the back of personal tragedy and since then we have seen a growing number of trailers being submitted for inspection and annual registration.

“The Tilly your Trailer initiative is the most comprehensive test available today to assist farmers to meet their responsibilities under the Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations in respect of agricultural trailers.”

The scheme uses a network of qualified technicians to service trailers to the Tilly Pass standard. “We understand that this will never bring Harry back and for us the pain will never ease, but by working together we can help save other lives.”

The Tilly Pass scheme provides safety inspections for farm trailers. For details, visit