Harvest time will be here before you know it, which means you are likely to take to the roads with your farm equipment in tow. Whether you’re sharing the road with farm equipment or driving your tractor from one field to the next, preventing accidents is in everyone’s best interest. Stay safe with these tips:

Safety Tips for Farmers/Ranchers

  • Verify that all lights and flashers are working properly before taking to the road.
  • Use warning flashers, flags, lights and slow-moving vehicle emblems on all equipment.
  • Apply reflective tape to the edges of machines to improve visibility for motorists at dusk.
  • Be mindful of the height of your equipment and avoid low-hanging power lines.
  • Check towed equipment: All loads should be balanced properly and securely mounted.
  • Whenever possible, avoid well-traveled roads during high-traffic times.
  • Avoid traveling before dawn and after dusk, if possible. If you do need to be on the road during these times, ensure headlights are in good working order. Headlights help you see and be seen by other motorists.
  • Use turn signals and hand signals whenever possible to communicate with fellow drivers.
  • Use precaution when traveling on soft/gravel shoulders, narrow bridges, loose gravel, bumps and deep ruts. Your equipment will handle these conditions differently than passenger vehicles will.
  • Obey all traffic laws.

Safety Tips for Motorists

  • Be aware of slow-moving vehicles. Expect farm equipment to travel at a much slower rate — between 5 and 15 miles per hour.
  • Give tractors and combines plenty of room to operate. Expect that they will take wider turns and may travel into both lanes of traffic to properly turn.
  • Watch for turn signals, hand signals, and ways the farmer or rancher is trying to communicate with you. They have a much higher vantage point and will often signal to you when it is safe to pass.
  • Don’t pull in front of farm equipment and slow suddenly. The tractor may be towing a grain cart or another piece of machinery, making it difficult to slow rapidly.
  • Avoid distractions and be extra attentive behind the wheel. You can pledge to avoid distractions this harvest season.  

Whether you are driving large farm equipment or are a motorist sharing the road, you can help everyone have a safe harvest season when you’re behind the wheel. Avoid distractions and make safety a priority this harvest season. No matter what you drive, your Farm Bureau agent can help you ensure that you have the right coverage.