Be Safe Around Farm Equipment on Roads

Safety Tips for Motorists Near Farm Equipment on Roads, Highways During Planting Season

Russ Quinn
By  Russ Quinn , DTN Staff Reporter
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Motorists on rural roads and highways need to watch out for farm equipment this spring. (DTN file photo by Jim Patrico)

OMAHA (DTN) -- With planting season ramping up, more farm equipment will travel rural roads and highways. Motorists are encouraged to slow down, be alert and be patient when encountering farm machinery on roadways this spring, according to a recent press release from the Indiana Department of Agriculture.

While farm equipment can mean many different machines, generally in the spring it includes sprayers, tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment and trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide and travel at speeds no greater than 25 miles per hour, according to the release. (See…)

"During the spring and fall seasons Indiana sees a dramatic increase of large farm equipment on our rural roads and highways," stated Doug Carter, Indiana State Police superintendent. "In our strong agricultural state, it is critical that Hoosier motorists know the steps to take when approaching farm equipment on the roadways to ensure we all make it home safely to our families."

The Indiana State Department of Agriculture put together the following list of safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

-- Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.

-- Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.

-- Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated "No Passing Zone" or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.

-- Do not try to pass slow-moving farm equipment on the left without ensuring that the farmer driving the equipment is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over to allow a pass when the farmer is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.

-- Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.

-- Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler reminds motorists to be alert on the state's rural roads.

"I want to encourage motorists to be aware during this spring season and know that encountering farm equipment is likely and to slow down when approaching," Kettler said.

Rural roadway safety is certainly not a one-way street. There are also certain practices farmers can implement to make their farm equipment more visible on rural roads.

The Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center (UMASH) encouraged farmers to improve lighting and markings on farm equipment to make them more visible on rural roads. Here are some of the Center's safety tips:

-- Outline equipment with reflective marking at the widest points.

-- Use a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem and keep it clean and visible.

-- Make sure all equipment lights work, such as flashing amber lights and turn the lights on as you drive on the roads, even in the daytime.

-- Consider adding red taillights to towed equipment.

-- If possible, avoid traveling on roadways in the dark.

-- Always use turning signals.

To visit the UMASH Roadway Safety website, click on the following link:….

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Russ Quinn