Patz Corporation wants our family, friends, and customers not only to work safely, but to carry that into their daily lives. Winter is here, and many of us have already encountered snow this season. We want to share some winter driving tips for farm machinery with you. This information also translates to the cars we drive every day to get to work, the grocery store, and home.
The way we drive needs to be altered in the winter no matter what kind of vehicle you have. Snow and ice can affect the road conditions but also can affect how well machinery functions. Braking is most heavily affected. Snow piled up under the tires or ice will make braking a challenge. Most 2-wheel drive tractors only have rear wheel brakes, which makes it hard to stop, especially if a heavy load is being carried in the front. The key is to maintain a slow and steady speed that will be easy to stop from.
If carrying a heavy load, keep it low while transporting to increase visibility as much as possible. It will also help with the center of gravity for your machine. If picking up hay bales, use grapple jaws to ensure they are gripped tightly and won’t be dropped where they could roll toward the tractor. Tractor stability can be improved with a ballast (heavy counter weight on the back of a tractor – or in the trunk of a car). Solid weights are best in this case.
Keep vehicles under a shelter when not in use to protect from the elements. Make sure the anti-freeze levels are at the proper levels for each machine and check often to make sure it stays at the most efficient level. Always have the batteries fully charged for your machines or vehicles to avoid cold weather related issues. Clear windows completely of snow before each time you drive. Watch for pedestrians or workers when driving – remember that it will take you longer to stop in the winter conditions. Keep machines in a low gear when going downhill to avoid gaining too much speed.
Make sure your home or operation has a good supply of salt, sand, sawdust, or some form of material that will give vehicles (and feet!) traction from the ice and snow.
“Farming Community.” Be Winter Ready
Maher, George. “Tractors Require Extra Caution in Winter.” North Dakota State University