Common questions for people looking to become a tractor driver and answers of common trator related questions.
What does it involve?
What age can you drive a tractor on the road?
You can drive a tractor on the road at 16, but only if you’ve passed the DSA Tractor Driving Test. You can drive a tractor to and from the driving test appointment ,but you can’t practise on the road. At 17, however, you can drive any tractor unaccompanied on the road as long as you display L-plates.
Do you have to have a provisional car licence?
Yes. Apply for a D1 application form from the DVLA ordering service or pick one up from your local Post Office. You will also need to enclose original documentation confirming your identity, a passport-style colour photograph and a fee of £50.
Where do the tests usually take place?
Because it’s defined as a "home test", the application will go to your nearest test centre, and the examiner will get in touch with you to arrange a suitable place.
How far ahead should you book? Is there a long waiting time?
You can book the test from one month before your 16th birthday onwards. Waiting times vary depending in which area you’re in, so it’s worth giving the DSA a ring to check.
How much does it cost?
The weekday cost of a test is £62.00 and the weekend rate is £75.00.
Do certain maintenance standards have to be met?
Yes. The tractor has to be in a roadworthy condition. That means clean lights, windows and mirrors.
How long does it take?
Depending on the location and examiner, it can take from 20 minutes to an hour to complete your test. Make sure you book enough time off school.
Assuming you’ve passed, what restrictions are there on 16 year olds?
If you pass, you’ll be able to drive any tractor up to 2.45m in width, provided it’s not tracked.
Do you have to sign a form to say that the tractor is taxed and insured?
Before you turn up for your test, make sure the tractor is legally roadworthy and fully insured, as you’ll need to sign a form to that effect. The tractor needs to have a valid tax disc (if you don’t have one - you’ll fail automatically) and have L-plates clearly displayed. You also need to take along both parts of your driving licence as form of idenification.
Does the examiner always stay outside the vehicle?
Even if the tractors is fitted with a passenger seat, the examiner generally stands outside and observes. He will usually give you instructions at the side of the road and will watch how you drive as you go round both left and right circuits.
Do you have to do a theory test?
No. But you will be expected to have a good knowledge of the Highway Code.
L-plates clearly displayed
All lights should be working and clean
Mirrors fitted and positioned for clear vision
Clean number plate, firmly fixed
No trailer or attachment
Clean enough not to drop mud or debris on the road
Tax disc clearly displayed
What does the test involve?
• An eyesight test – you need to be able to read a number plate at a distance of more than 20.5m
• You need to know how to check things like tyres, brakes, oils and lights, so get accustomed to the tractor you’re doing the test on
• Adjust the seat and mirrors, make sure the handbrake is on and make sure it’s in neutral before you start the engine. The hand throttle shouldn’t be used during the test
• Make sure the independent brakes are locked together, as you may be asked to perform an emergency stop
• You will be asked to move off from the side of the road or behind another vehicle, so make sure you use your mirror and check all your blind spots, then signal before moving. For rear observation, you need to look in your mirrors and turn and look round so the examiner recognises you’ve checked the way is clear
• Pay attention to road signs, as you’ll need to react accordingly
• For the emergency stop, you’ll need to stop as quickly and safely as possible and under full control
• When you’re asked to reverse round a corner, checking mirrors and looking behind is extremely important, and watch you don’t end up on the kerb. Also, bear in mind the tractor nose swings out in the road, so watch out for oncoming traffic
• You need to be able to park safely at a curb or in a parking position. Again, watch out for pedestrians, cyclists or any hazards
• The examiner may ask you to turn in the road. If you are asked to do this, you’ll need to complete it in as few moves as possible and also keep a close eye on other road users throughout
•Because there are lots of hazards on country roads like cyclists and horseriders, you’ll be expected to know how to deal with them. Always use the mirror, signal, manoeuvre (MSM) routine and travel at a suitable speed (20mph)
• At road junctions and roundabouts, the examiner will expect you to know the correct procedure. Because tractors are larger than normal vehicles, make sure you’re in the correct lane and not taking up any of the other side of the road and MSM. As you will need to creep slowly forwards from a junction, look both ways several times before edging out
• If you really need to overtake, make sure you have enough space and time to get round the hazard without squeezing them off the road or cutting them up
• When you meet and pass other vehicles, get a good look of what’s up ahead and don’t think your tractor can squeeze through a small gap
• If you have to cross the path of oncoming traffic, make sure you MSM, keep as close to the centre of the road as possible and judge how far oncoming traffic is away before committing to turning. Make sure you get the speed right, too
• Tractors can be scary to small children, so if you have to wait at a pedestrian crossing, give them time to cross and don’t stop too near
• When it’s time to stop, make sure it’s not in a place that will obstruct the road, cause a hazard, or obstruct a pavement.