Safety Makes for an Enjoyable Hayride

Every fall, thousands of churches across the nation sponsor hayrides. Unfortunately, these events sometimes lead to serious injuries, even deaths. By following these suggestions, you can minimize the risks involved in sponsoring hayrides and make your hayride a safe and enjoyable experience.

Before the Hayride

  • Enlist an experienced person to provide the tractor and wagon, and serve as driver.
  • Ask the equipment owner and operator to add your church to their insurance policy as an additional insured. Be prepared to pay a premium fee when making this request.
  • Execute a contract in which the equipment owner and operator agree to hold your ministry harmless, and indemnify and defend you for injuries or damages.

Route and Equipment inspection

  • Choose your hayride route carefully and inspect it for hazards.
  • Avoid on-road travel. It’s better to take several loops around a level farm field than to contend with traffic. If you use a public road for any portion of the hayride, provide escort vehicles with flashers to lead and follow the hay wagon.
  • Make sure the tractor and wagon are equipped with adequate road lighting, safety lighting, and warning signs.
  • The tractor should tow only one hay wagon.

Supervising the Hayride

  • Instruct the tractor operator to follow a charted course and repeat it if riders pressure him for a longer ride.
  • Instruct the tractor operator to drive at low-gear speeds.
  • If you cannot safely accommodate all riders in a single wagon, arrange multiple group trips.
  • Don’t allow anyone other than the driver and perhaps one adult monitor to ride on the tractor.
  • Position an adequate number of adult supervisors throughout the wagon.
  • Do not permit riders to stand up or crawl around in the wagon while it is moving.
  • Supervise the loading and unloading of passengers from the wagon.
  • Don’t permit children to play on parked or unattended tractors or wagons.
  • Make sure all passengers keep their arms and legs in the wagon. Do not allow anyone to climb out on the tongue of the wagon under any circumstances.
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