New guide to improve the safety of tractor-trailer braking

The Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) has now published an updated edition of the ‘Look Behind You’ guide to tractor-trailer braking.

The Agricultural Engineers Association (AEA) has now published an updated edition of the ‘Look Behind You’ guide to tractor-trailer braking. The guide is aimed at contractors, farmers, tractor drivers, mechanics and technicians – indeed anyone using, purchasing or maintaining tractors and trailers. A link to download the guide has been sent to all Farm & Forestry Contractors on the database of the Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI).

It seeks to raise user awareness of what is needed from tractor-trailer braking systems, in order to obtain good performance and also to comply with the minimum legal requirements.  It will also help users to make informed purchasing decisions and to recognise shortfalls in the braking systems of their current vehicles.

Safety is a perennial issue for farming. That applies as much to the use of farm vehicles on the road as it does on farm. A key concern which comes up time and again is the safety of tractor-trailer or tractor-trailed implement combinations. Ten years ago, prompted by a spate of premature tractor brake failures linked to inadequate trailer brakes, the AEA published the first edition of the ‘Look Behind You’ guide.

Since then, much has changed. Tractors, trailers and trailed implements are bigger, more tractors can now reach 50 km/h (30 mph) and pneumatic (air) trailer braking systems are more common. Certain UK Legislation has changed and new EU Braking Regulations for agricultural vehicles have arrived.

Although tractor-trailer braking has improved, more still needs to be done – so the AEA Service Managers’ Group has revised and updated the ‘Look Behind You’ guide. A comprehensive technical overview, the revised guide still provides the basic information but, importantly, it now also covers the increasingly complex braking systems found on modern tractors and trailers. The ‘Look Behind You’ guide provides the right level of information to raise awareness and highlight important features which, if addressed, will improve vehicle operation and enhance overall safety. Readers are also advised what maintenance activities may be performed On-Farm, following appropriate training, and where it is important to seek specialist help.

As well as bringing the content up to date, the advance of media technology since the first edition was published has allowed new features to be built into the new ‘Look Behind You’. The online version of the guide includes a number of videos introducing the key topics and animations to help users to get an advanced understanding of some of the most important concepts. This version can be downloaded, so all the features can still be used without an internet connection.

When it has been published, the ‘Look Behind You’ guide will be available to download from:

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