Be sure the tractor is properly serviced. Check lubrication, fuel and water.
Check the radiator level when the tractor is cold. If you must check it when
hot, use extreme care.
Never refuel your tractor while the engine is running. Static electricity, a
spark from the ignition system, or a hot exhaust can cause the fuel to
ignite. To reduce the static electricity problem, ground the tractor with a
ground wire or by dropping mounted equipment so it contacts the ground.
Always fuel your tractor outside and store your fuel outside. Store fuel at
least 40 feet from any building. Keep the area free of weeds or other
Carry a first aid kit and approved dry chemical extinguisher. Tractors
should have at least a five-pound extinguisher.
Be sure of good ventilation before starting the tractor engine. Exhaust
gases contain carbon monoxide, which is odorless, colorless and deadly.
Keep small children away from tractors. Tractors are designed to carry only
one person -- the driver. Each year small children are killed by falling
from the tractor. Their chance of being killed is just as great when they
are allowed to ride on trailing equipment.
Keep wheels spread wide whenever possible. A tractor will overturn sideways
much more easily if the wheels are close together. When wheels must be moved
in for narrow row farming, use extra caution, especially when traveling at
higher speeds on roads.
Reduce speed before turning. Doubling the speed of a farm tractor quadruples
the danger of upsetting sideways. Centrifugal force tries to keep the
tractor in a straight line. If you try to turn at a high rate of speed, the
tractor will attempt to go straight rather than turn.
Reduce speed when using a loader. A loader in the raised position can
increase the possibilities of overturns. Keep the loader as close to the
ground as possible. Be alert for ditches, rocks or holes that might cause
the tractor to overturn. The center of gravity is affected if the load is
kept too high in the air.
Stop the engine before getting off the tractor. Operators can be killed by a
tractor when the tractor has been left running with the operator off the
seat, leaving when it has been put in gear, parked, or had the brakes
Never hitch to the axle or other high point. Always hitch to the drawbar,
take up slack slowly, and never jerk on chains or cables. Broken parts of a
chain can act like shrapnel, and a cable can cut the legs from under a
person. Nylon ropes have killed tractor operators and bystanders when the
rope broke away from an implement. The stored energy in the rope catapults
the rope end into the victim. Tractors also can upset backwards when pushing
or using a front end loader, or when hitched to the front end by chains or
cables that pass under the back axle. Keep the hitch as low as possible,
preferably 17 inches. Never get above 21 inches.
Be extremely careful when driving up an incline. A tractor can upset if the
center of gravity moves behind where the rear wheels are in contact with the
ground. Try to back up if it's necessary to get up the incline. If you get
caught on a steep incline, back down very slowly and apply the brakes
lightly. Weight on the front of the tractor will help.
Disengage the power take-off when it's not in use. Use the power shield
whenever equipment is in use. If you do not have a PTO shield, make one --
it may save your life.
Do not wear loose clothing while operating a tractor. Loose clothing can
catch on moving parts and cause an accident.
Keep the tractor in gear when going down hill. This allows the tractor
engine to serve as a brake. In Nebraska, it's unlawful to coast down a hill
with the vehicle out of gear. Some tractors may have "free wheeling" in
their transmission drive. Make sure this type of transmission is put in
direct drive before attempting to use the engine as a brake.
Engage the clutch gently, especially when going uphill. "Jackrabbit" starts
are dangerous to both the operator and the tractor.
Never attach a post or log to the rear wheels when the tractor is stuck in
the mud. If the wheels are not free to turn, the tractor can pivot around
the axle and upset. Try to back out. If this does not work, get another
tractor to pull you out.
Follow all traffic rules on open roads. This includes proper lighting, hand
signals, right-of-way, etc. Tractors may not use interstate highways.
Do not use a tractor for a job it wasn't designed to do. The tractor was
designed as a source of power to do field work. It was not designed for
chasing cattle, drag racing, or transportation to and from town.
If in doubt - NEVER proceed with
tractor operations - seek answers first.