By Cíara Holohan
On the 6th of November, eight members of our club travelled to Gort Mart to take part in a Safe Tractor Driving Skills course. We left Loughrea at half past eight to arrive at nine, when the course was due to start. There were 32 Foróige club members there, from different clubs around the county.
To start the day, we got a brief from the Farm Relief Services, who went through safety measures and checks, tractor controls, and the problems that could occur while driving a tractor. He told us of some accidents that happened on a farm, which really opened our eyes to tractor safety.
Next, we were divided into two groups; one group went outside to drive the tractors, and our group stayed inside to have another talk from the Loughrea Garda Traffic Corps. They gave us a presentation that was very eye-opening, as we saw first-hand accounts of many fatal road accidents. As well as telling us about safety on our roads, and ways of making the roads a better place for everyone, they showed us real-life accounts of car collisions due to speed, drink-driving and not wearing a seatbelt. We also heard the story of a mother who loast her 17-year-old daughter to a terrible road crash.
After this, our group went outside - there were two tractors and two slurry tanks waiting for us. We each got a turn to drive the tractor, with a qualified farmer. They went through all of the controls, so we knew how to start and stop it properly. Then, I drove the tractor with the slurry tank behind me. I then revesed it back so that it was ready for the next person.
All-in-all, everybody had a good day and learned lots, as well as making new friends. But Just remeber, the most important thing is: ALWAYS WEAR A SEATBELT!