‘Selfish’ tractor drivers cause huge tailback near Sidmouth

Sidmouth residents have spoken out about long tailbacks caused by tractors. Credit: Thinkstock

Sidmouth residents have spoken out about long tailbacks caused by tractors. Credit: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

‘Selfish’ tractor drivers have been slammed for causing huge tailbacks near Sidmouth.

Sidmouth resident Leonard Lewis said he drove past a queue of 36 cars stuck behind a tractor on the A3052, between Sidmouth and Exeter, last week.

The 75-year-old has now hit out at how the tractor driver breezed past numerous stopping options, ignoring them all and leaving many frustrated drivers in its wake.

Leonard, of Convent Road, added: “I couldn’t believe it, there were 36 cars – I looked out for places it could have stopped on the way there and back and there were plenty of options. It happens so frequently on that road. Normally the drivers are quite good but, one in three drivers are not. It’s dangerous because people get frustrated and bad-tempered and might do something silly like try and take over.”

Leonard said the tractor drivers gave the appearance that they enjoyed holding the traffic up.

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He added: “You don’t expect them to pull over every 200 yards, they have a job to do too, but if there are more than half a dozen cars, it is a matter of common sense and courtesy. I have been a driver for 52 years and I have never seen a tailback that long before.”

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.

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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.”

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.

County Councillor Stuart Hughes said not pulling over was a breach of the Highway Code.

He added many of the trailers also did not display a registration plate or use an orange beacon and problems were also caused from mud being left on the road.

Cllr Hughes said if everyone contacted the police, hopefully some guidance could be issued next year.

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