Fall harvest is starting, and that means that farmers will be on the roads. Each year, there are many crashes that involve farm equipment and motorists. These crashes are mostly due to unexpected turns or rear ending the farm equipment. These are all preventable crashes, but they require more care from motorists to observe farm equipment. Never make frustrated, quick decisions to get around them.
Sometimes, the only way for a farmer to get to another field or transport grain is to take their farm equipment onto the roadway. However, the problem is that they may be going below 25 mph. They can’t go any faster, but motorists get frustrated with their speeds. However, farm vehicles are legally allowed onto the road. If they travel under 25 mph, they must have a sign that indicates they are a “Slow Moving Vehicle.” This is an orange and red triangle that will be fairly large and visible to motorists. If you’ve ever driven behind farm equipment, you’ve probably seen this triangle.
There are a few main reasons that people crash into farm equipment. These are not slowing down or stopping when farm equipment stops or passing while it is turning. When the crashes involve rear ending the farm equipment, it’s usually because the driver was following too closely. Next, the farm equipment abruptly stopped at an intersection or driveway or slowed down. If the driver is following too close or not paying attention, they won’t notice when the farm vehicle slows down. There is not much time to react, and if you aren’t paying attention it can lead to running into it.
When the crash involves passing, it’s usually because of two reasons. The first reason is that the driver tries to pass in a no-passing zone. Unfortunately, just because farm equipment is driving slow doesn’t mean that motorists are allowed to break the law to pass. No passing zones are illegal to pass in, even when you are following farm equipment. The second reason is that many people try to pass without first looking at what’s ahead of them. This is a twofold problem: there could be a car ahead at an unsafe distance, or the farmer could be turning left while the motorist is about to pass. In either of these instances, everyone’s lives are put at risk because of impatience.
So how can you safely follow farm equipment? There are a few ways to do so. The first is to make sure that you are being vigilant as you follow farm equipment. Is there a driveway or intersection coming up? Have you seen the farmer signal, either with lights or with their hand? If you see these things, the farmer may be turning soon. In most cases, farm equipment isn’t going to be driving on the road for a very long distance. It may seem like a long time, but usually farmers are traveling from farm to farm or transporting grain.
The next tip and way to keep safe is to always follow at a good distance. Never get too close to the back of large farm equipment. Just as with large trucks, the farmer usually cannot see you when you are that close to the back of the equipment. This makes it hard for them to see if you are going to pass while they are about to turn. Additionally, this is a safer practice for you so that if the farmer does happen to stop abruptly or to slow down, you are able to stop your own vehicle in an adequate amount of time.
Lastly, only pass when it is truly safe to do so. Being late to work does not justify passing farm equipment in unsafe places. This is how crashes happen, and then you’ll be really late for work. Wait until the proper place–a passing zone, no upcoming intersections or driveways, no turn signals from the farmer, and a safe passing distance for any other cars–and then you can pass the farm equipment.
This fall, make sure that you are sharing the roads with farm equipment. You and farmers both deserve to drive safely on the road. Take these tips to have a better driving experience with farm equipment. If you need a new agricultural truck, water truck, fire truck, stainless tank, or something else, give Osco Tank & Truck Sales a call. We build custom tanker trucks that fit your budget, and we offer new and used options. Give us a call today to get started on your next custom built truck.