Slow down and share the road with farm equipment

Slow down and share the road with farm

THE ISSUE: Each harvest season there are accidents involving motorists and farmers.

OUR VIEW:  Motorists need to be respectful and have patience with farmers as they travel during the harvest season.

It’s a sure sign that the fall harvest season has arrived when combines and other farm implements are visible on area roadways as they travel to their intended location. Unfortunately, it’s also a familiar site to see accidents of all kinds involving farm machinery.

Most of these accidents occur when motorists become impatient at the big piece of equipment moving slowly in front of them. They then make the poor choice to pass the equipment while in a no passing zone, putting the lives in danger of those traveling in both directions. Many farmers try to assist motorists while gesturing when it is safe to pass as often it is difficult to see around such large pieces of farming equipment. Farmers are motorists too after all, they understand that sometimes their fellow motorists are in a hurry to arrive at a given location. They are not trying to be belligerent while traveling, rather, they simply are trying to do their job.

Motorists are encouraged to scan the road and be ready to slow down when they see such slow moving vehicles. If attempting to pass, motorists should always look behind them as well as ahead since there may be a vehicle already attempting to pass. On average, farm machinery will only travel between 15 to 25 miles per hour so it is imperative to be alert when coming upon a slow-moving vehicle. According to the National Ag Safety Database, a major reason for farm machinery accidents on public roads is the difference in speed between cars and tractors. Motorists approach the slow moving farm equipment so quickly that they only have a few seconds to identify the hazard and react appropriately.

Farm equipment also has to make wide turns, so be aware of that and help out by being patient and giving farmers room to turn. Over the years farm equipment has certainly increased in size while the width of the road has not. Therefore, it is advisable to use extreme caution when trying to pass farming equipment. Farmers can do their part by identifying their equipment with the proper slow moving vehicle signage.

Motorists need to remember that they made a choice to live in the agricultural heartland which produces so much food for our great country. And with that choice comes the responsibility of helping one another. It’s really a two-way street that should be a fairly shared resolution between motorists and farmers.

Whether it be spring planting time or fall harvest time, farmers should be given respect and a fair share of the road to travel on without having to endure the disrespect and reckless driving that some motorists seem intent upon.