There are many things that can contribute to driver fatigue when you’re operating a tractor. The bouncing. The humming. Even the weather conditions. On top of that, some tractors come with the extra mental load of managing attachments and tracking instrumentation. Combined with extra pressure, these circumstances can cause overall weariness on the field.
Mistakes are bound to happen when you are tired. You’re less alert, your reaction time becomes slower, and your focus drops. Transportation accidents are the leading cause of occupational fatalities in agriculture. Rather than risk becoming part of that grim statistic, take the following easy steps to avoid tractor operator fatigue when you’re in the driver’s seat.
Take frequent breaks
Fatigue is subjective, and some operators may be able to withstand it better than others. Regardless of your tolerance, experts recommend frequent breaks for optimal safety and performance. Get off the tractor at least every couple of hours for 10 to 15 minutes to get away from the low-frequency vibration, and to take a break from the noise.
Block out the sun and dust
Being outdoors can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be tiring with the constant sun and dust particles on your face. Even if you are riding in a cab tractor like the K48C, be sure to use sun protection and proper respirators or face coverings to safeguard your airways.
Hydrate and refresh
Some of the best ways to stay safe are also the most obvious. Grab a snack and stay hydrated during regular breaks. An insulated cup holder, like the one built into the TYM T130, is useful for those long days. Stretch your body and take a short walk if you can. At the height of the season, be sure to eat regular meals and get plenty of sleep.
Whether it’s peak harvest season or inclement weather is on the horizon, all producers understand the burden of getting the job done in time. When time is running out, you may feel pressured to go into overdrive on your tractor. But with all things on the farm, always put safety first. During the planting and harvesting months, it's important to take regular breaks even if you feel like you don't need them. And as always, keep up with routine maintenance for optimal tractor performance, and take proper safety precautions when operating heavy machinery.