Farm equipment incidents most commonly occur on public roadways, according to the National Ag Safety Database. With fall harvest season soon upon us, it’s important for rural drivers and farm equipment operators to share the road. Remain alert at all times and be considerate of each other. Here are some good driving tips to keep in mind during harvest season.
Tips for Rural Drivers
- Always be on the lookout for farm machinery. Remember it can unexpectedly turn onto public roads from a field or driveway.
- Farm machinery typically travels at 25 mph or less, so be prepared to slow down in order to avoid a rear-end collision.
- Keep a safe distance. This gives better visibility to both drivers and equipment operators.
- Allow adequate time and distance for farm equipment to make wide turns.
- Just because you see the equipment does not mean the equipment operator sees you.
Tips for Passing Farm Machinery
- Be sure the machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows down and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator may be preparing to make a wide left turn. Likewise, sometimes to make a wide right turn, the operator must fade to the left.
- Determine whether the road is wide enough for both your vehicle and the farm equipment.
- Check for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road.
- Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass and be on the look out for oncoming traffic.
Tips for Farm Equipment Operators
- Check to make sure lighting and flashers are working properly and use them at all times of day. Avoid using working lights when traveling on public roads.
- Display a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) sign on the back of the implement. Make sure that is visible and kept clean throughout the season.
- Be careful of soft edges on the roadway when giving way for oncoming traffic.
- Stay alert at all times, particularly since long hours during harvest can impair your judgment.
It is both farm equipment operators and rural drivers' responsibility to achieve an incident-free harvest season. Stay alert, don't text and drive, and please be patient.