Caution, harvest tankers back on the roads

DEKRA Info July / August 2018

Accident with a harvesting vehicle
Accident with a harvesting vehicle: Dramatic consequences

Increased risk of accident during harvest time:

During the harvest period many agricultural vehicles will be back out and about on the roads, and this increases the risk of accident for motorists and cyclists, warn DEKRA experts. Above all in rural regions, motorists must now expect to more frequently encounter slow moving and occasionally heavily laden vehicles, and these can suddenly appear from behind a hilltop or a blind bend.

Above all, if excessively broad combine harvesters or tractors with full trailers are traveling along narrow country roads, space can quickly become extremely narrow for another vehicle warn the accident experts. On these types of roads it is necessary to adapt your speed accordingly to avoid collisions. In addition, during the peak harvest period tractors and harvesting machines are also frequently traveling at dusk or at night. This, too, can lead to dangerous situations because it is often difficult to recognize the harvesting vehicles as such until very late.

Another risk factor is the soiling of the road caused by harvesting vehicles, the dreaded “farmer’s black ice”. Dirt from the fields can turn the road into a dangerous slide. And this is even more so when rain is added to the dirt. Here, too, there is only one response and that is to slow down!

An extremely dangerous situation, which repeatedly leads to the severest of accidents, is caused by harvesting vehicles turning left. If the indicator lights on trailers are covered or soiled by harvested crops, the vehicles behind will find it difficult to ascertain if the vehicle wants to turn off or not. This is why you should never overtake if the traffic situation is unclear or the roads narrow, and even more so near entrances or junctions.

Accidents involving harvesting vehicles are frequently very serious in their consequences. A DEKRA crash test has demonstrated this. In a collision between a car traveling at a speed of 67 km/h and a combine harvester, rigid parts of the harvesting machine penetrated deep into the passenger cell, which in a real accident would have led to the severest of injuries to the upper body and head of the passengers. In this situation even an airbag and seat belt would have offered practically no protection.


Tilman Vögele-Ebering

Press officer Industrial


Fax +49.711.7861-742122

Back to overview
Share page