The fall harvest is in full swing and that means farm equipment will be on our rural roads and highways. If we all take a few precautions to share the road then we’ll all get home safely.
Tractors, combines, and other farm implements have a top speed on only 25 mph. It takes only seconds for an automobile traveling at highway speeds to overtake a farm vehicle. Always stay a safe distance behind farm vehicles — a minimum of 50 feet or more to give yourself time to slow or stop.
Drivers unfamiliar with farm implements may not realize that many large vehicles, such as tractors or combines, may need to first move to the right before turning left. This can catch drivers off guard as they may assume the tractor is moving over to let them pass, only to suddenly find the tractor turning left into their lane of traffic. Be aware of this risk and stay safe by only passing farm vehicles in designated passing zones and only when there are no field entrances on the left side of the road.
More than 50% of collisions between automobiles and tractors occur when the tractor is turning left.
Three-quarters of all tractor/motor vehicle collisions occur during the daylight hours from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Excessive vehicle speed is a major cause of these collision. Be extra alert for the presence of farm equipment on rural roads and highways during the spring planting and fall harvest seasons.
Farm implements are legally required to place Slow Moving Vehicle warning signs on all vehicles. This large orange triangular symbol is to warn approaching vehicles to slow down and use extra caution. Working on a farm can be dirty and dusty work so it is critical that SMVs be kept clean and visible at all times.
Distracted driving is dangerous. Whether you are driving a car, truck, or tractor put your cell phone down, keep a lookout, and drive with both hands on the wheel.
If we all share the responsibility of safe driving then we can call get home safely.