Share The Road Safely This Harvest Season
As we all should know, National Farmers’ Day was last week! In honor of that, we’ve got some great tips this week for sharing the road with farm equipment. It’s harvest season, after all, and you’re going to encounter farm vehicles on the road. So whether you’re driving a car or a combine, here are some rules for the road this season.
First, for those car drivers! Make sure you pay attention to the slow-moving vehicle signs that are on the backs of these pieces of equipment. When you see this, start slowing down – no matter how far away you are. It takes only five seconds for a car going 55 mph to close a distance equivalent to the size of a football field on a tractor or combine. If you don’t start slowing down quickly, you could smash right into that piece of equipment.
You also shouldn’t pass these vehicles unless you’re in some very specific circumstances:
If you are at a straightaway where you can see what’s in front of the tractor/combine/etc
If you are waved on by the driver of the equipment
That’s it! Never pass on curves, hills, at intersections, railroad crossings, bridges, or tunnels. You should also not pass even if the vehicle starts moving more to the right side of the road when approaching an intersection because this probably means that the driver is preparing to take a wide left turn. Pay attention for any hand signals as well! And if you do pass, don’t speed by. The air from your vehicle can unbalance the equipment.
For the drivers of the farm equipment – make sure your reflective signage is working as well as possible. If your slow-moving vehicle triangle is dirty, clean it off! If it’s not reflective anymore, replace it. Make sure it’s located in an easily visible spot – usually more to the left side of the back of your equipment. Make sure all your lights are working, and use those blinkers when you’re on a public road.
Stay to the right of the road as well, even if you’re turning right and need to make a wider turn. Your equipment might be wider than the lane and can cause issues with traffic. If you find cars lining up behind you, you can find a safe place to pull over and let them by.
For everyone, have patience! Stay safe and look out for signs, lights, and sounds. Happy Harvest Season!