Today’s tech tools – like cell phones, music devices, or tablets – are "tractor distractors" and are unsafe to use while operating heavy equipment.
June 24-30 is the National Safety Council's Safe Driving Week and Kubota is helping to encourage and emphasize limiting distractions while driving heavy equipment and tractors.
"National Safety Month, and particularly safe driving week, provides us with an important reminder to pay close attention to the task at hand, avoid all distractions, and to take note of all safety practices before using tractors, lawn and garden equipment, construction equipment and utility vehicles," says Greg Embury, vice president of sales and marketing, Kubota Tractor Corporation.
Kubota reminds its customers and the public to use all equipment with care; this means turning off your cell phone or other tech tools before you power up your equipment or turn on your tractor.
Talking, texting or using other gadgets can distract a driver or operator visually, mechanically and cognitively: visually, you are impacted by taking your eyes off the road or task at hand; mechanically, both of your hands are not on the wheel; and cognitively, your mind is not solely focused on driving your tractor or operating other equipment. Powering down your phone or other electronic device before you engage your tractor or equipment is the only way to stay fully focused.
In addition, Kubota’s "Ten Commandments of Tractor Safety" are important reminders for operators for a year-round commitment to safe operating practices:
- Know your tractor, its implements and how they work. Please read and understand the Operator’s Manual(s) before operating the equipment. Also, keep your equipment in good condition.
- Use ROPS and a seatbelt whenever and wherever applicable. If your tractor has a foldable ROPS, fold it down only when absolutely necessary and fold it up and lock it again as soon as possible. Do not wear the seatbelt when the ROPS is folded.* Most tractor fatalities are caused by overturns. (*Kubota Tractor Corporation strongly recommends the use of ROPS and seatbelts in almost all applications.)
- Be familiar with your terrain and work area – walk the area first to be sure and drive safely. Use special caution on slopes, slow down for all turns and stay off the highway whenever possible.
- Never start an engine in a closed shed or garage. Exhaust gas contains carbon monoxide, which is colorless, odorless – and deadly.
- Always keep your PTO properly shielded. Make it a habit to walk around your tractor and PTO driven implement – never walk over, through or between the tractor and implement, particularly if either is running. The PTO rotates with enough speed and strength to kill you.
- Keep your hitches low and always on the drawbar. Otherwise, your tractor might flip over backwards.
- Never get off a moving tractor or leave it with its engine running. Shut it down before leaving the seat.
- Never refuel while the engine is running or hot. Additionally, do not add coolant to the radiator while the engine is hot; hot coolant can erupt and scald.
- Keep all children off and away from your tractor and its implements at all times. Children are generally attracted to tractors and the work they do. However, a tractor’s work is not child’s play. Remember, a child’s disappointment is fleeting, while your memory of his or her injury or death resulting from riding the tractor with you, or being too close, will last a lifetime.
- Never be in a hurry or take chances about anything you do with your tractor. Think safety first, then take your time and do it right. When it comes to talking on the phone, texting or emailing there is no message so important that it cannot wait.