The fall harvest season is in full swing and that means sharing the road with busy farmers. Below is some advice on how to avoid an accident with those farmers who are using the roads to move farm implements, as well as their crops.
Farm equipment should be easily identified with a slow-moving vehicle sign, as well as flashing amber lights when traveling public roads. Typically, a farmer will pull to the side of the road (when they can) to allow for safe passage of oncoming traffic, as well as vehicles behind them. As a motorist, be alert, and be patient to make sure it is a safe time to pass.
Famers will use public roads when moving equipment from field to field. They will typically make wide turns from the road into the field, causing them to move to the left or right to make the turn. A driver should not assume that they should pass now, as this is a common accident that occurs. Be patient, look for blinkers, or hand signals from the driver. Take a few extra seconds to be sure the equipment is in fact turning.
Another common accident between farm equipment and a vehicle is a rear end collision. Vehicles travelling at 55 miles per hour will need about 300 feet to stop, that equates to about 5 seconds. Farm equipment travels slowly, between 10 and 15 miles per hour, meaning a glance to change the radio station could be enough of a distraction for you to stop in time.
Motorists should slow down at the first sign of farm equipment on the road. Take their time, and wait for a legal opportunity to pass, normal traffic laws still apply so do not pass in a no passing zone. If you are approaching oncoming farm equipment, approach with caution as the farm equipment may be wide and narrow your ability to pass by. There is always the possibility of a driver being behind the equipment and deciding to pass causing them to come into your lane.
Being behind farm equipment can be frustrating and seem to take forever, but using a little patience can go a long way in keeping you, and your loved ones safe. Farmers are the backbone to America, sharing the roads safely with them is a key to having locally grown products available to us.