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Back off farm traffic; JOHN BARKER, general manager of Benfield's Fiat and Alfa Romeo dealership in Railway Street, Newcastle, offers advice to help you deal with tractors and other farm vehicles on the roads.

Byline: JOHN BARKER

JOHN says: "Tractors can be particularly frustrating when driving on the roads.

"It is important to understand that tractors don't have to be fitted with brake or indicator lights unless used at night, therefore you must be prepared for them to stop or turn with little, or no, warning.

"Also, remember that drivers of tractors often wear ear protectors impairing hearing and the sound of approaching cars.

"It's easy to get frustrated with slow-moving vehicles, such as tractors, when you're in a rush, but you must keep your calm as impatience can lead to accidents."

John adds: "There are some simple rules to follow when driving in the countryside that can keep you safe.

"Firstly, remember the two-second rule and keep plenty of distance between your car and the tractor in case of sudden braking.

Tractors and farm vehicles can seem shorter than they actually are, so ensure that you leave yourself plenty of room before attempting to overtake.

"If you come across any spillage on roads make sure you slow down to avoid any damage to your car, which can be caused by hitting any obstacles at speed.

Also, beware of parking in gateways or passing places as these are often access points into fields.

"Finally, be extremely careful when driving after adown pour.

Dry mud can turn roads into a skidpan after mixing with the rain."
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2007
Words:231
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