Farmers have been defended on social media after a tractor driver was accused of being ’selfish’ for causing a major tailback.
Last month, Sidmouth resident Leonard Lewis said he drove past a queue of 36 cars stuck behind a tractor on the A3052.
The 75-year-old hit out at how the tractor driver, who he claimed had passed numerous stopping options, ignored them all and left many frustrated drivers in its wake.
He said it was a frequent occurrence on that road.
Sidmouth Herald readers took to social media to share their views on the subject.
Jean Kirby suggested tractors should only be allowed on the main roads at certain times and ‘certainly not in rush hours’.
She posted: “The law says they should pull in and let other vehicles pass every so often - 36 cars in this case is clearly not on. Take their number and report it to the police, along with another witness.
“As in all cases above some drivers have respect for others and abide by the rules, and others give tractor, farm vehicles and cyclists a bad name.”
A police spokesman said agricultural vehicles were not obliged to pull in, although it was appreciated when they did.
He reminded drivers that being behind a tractor was not an excuse to risk a dangerous overtake.
Ali Swaffield argued tractor drivers had a job to do like everyone else and questioned how they could do it if they were only allowed on main roads at certain times.
She said: “A lot of us already get up very early and finish very late to produce your food.
“If you’re lucky enough to have all your fields and any processing areas all connected without having to go out on a road then you’re a very lucky farmer. What is the correct form of transport? Should farmers have this ‘correct’ transport meeting them at every field exit?
“Even if some other form of transport were available, what on earth would it have to be? Have you thought of attending an Open Farm Sunday? Or asking a farmer to show you round their farm and explain how your food is produced? It’s sad that in a rural area, people are becoming so disconnected from farming.”
Judith Beckett posted: “We live in the countryside, be thankful for the fact that every time you are behind a tractor that means there is still a farmer who hasn’t gone out of business.”
A National Farmers Union spokesman said tractor drivers should pull over when possible to avoid causing hold ups and car drivers needed to remember that they had a job to do.
He added: “When tractors pull in, they are advised to be completely off the road and especially on rural roads, finding somewhere to do that is not always easy. The solution is a bit of give and take. Tractor drivers should be courteous and pull over when they can.”
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