Use Caution when Planning Hayrides

Following safety procedures can help prevent incidents

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

Avoid spontaneous detours or extending the planned trip. Remember, you can always repeat the same course if you're pressured by unsatisfied riders.

Before the Ride

  • Arrange to have a responsible person provide the tractor, wagon, and driving services.
  • Get a certificate of insurance from the owner, verifying the amount and type of insurance he carries that will cover any accident resulting from operator negligence.
  • Ask that your church be added as an additional insured to the owner's insurance policy. Be prepared to pay a premium fee to be covered under the equipment owner and operator's insurance policy. Execute a contract in which the operator agrees to hold you harmless, indemnify and defend you for any injuries or damages.
  • Choose the hayride route carefully, and inspect it for hazards.
  • Make sure the wagon has sturdy side panels. Don't use flatbed-type vehicles.
  • Make sure the tractor and wagon are equipped with adequate road and safety lighting and warning signs if your hayride route is on the road.

During the Ride

  • Avoid on-road travel if possible. Several loops around a level farm field are much safer than dealing with auto and truck traffic. If the ride uses a public road, provide escort vehicles with flashers to lead and follow the hay wagon to warn rear or forward traffic traveling at much faster speeds than the tractor.
  • Avoid spontaneous detours or extending the planned trip. Remember, you can always repeat the same course if you're pressured by unsatisfied riders.
  • Insist that the tractor operator drive slowly on or off the road. High-gear, full-throttle speeds are unnecessary.
  • Don't allow the operator to tow more than one hay wagon. If you can't accommodate all riders in one wagon, make several trips over the planned route.
  • 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.
  • Don't permit standing or crawling around while the wagon is moving.
  • Forbid throwing of any objects—including hay or straw—in or out of the wagon.
  • Supervise the loading or unloading of passengers from the wagon.
  • Don't allow children to play on parked or unattended tractors or wagons.
  • Make sure that all passengers keep their arms and legs in the wagon.

Don't Let Your Hayride End Like This

  • A youth climbed out of a moving hay wagon to walk up the wagon tongue toward the tractor. He slipped, fell, and was run over by the wagon.
  • A youth stood at the back of a moving wagon. When the tractor came to an abrupt stop, he fell to the pavement and sustained multiple head injuries.
  • An automobile sideswiped a hay wagon, injuring several people when the wagon collapsed.