Changes in the season also bring changes on the road, and if you live or drive anywhere near a rural community, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more farm equipment sharing your roadways in the coming weeks. Sharing the road with farmers and ranchers means practicing extra caution. Keep these safety tips in mind this season to keep you and farmers safe.
Read the Signs
Slow-Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs are orange or red triangular signs that are placed on the back of equipment. This is your warning to slow down. Did you know it takes just five seconds for a car traveling 55 miles per hour to close a distance the size of a football field on a tractor or combine? Stay back and stay alert!
It’s easy to get impatient when you find yourself behind a slow-moving piece of farm equipment but resist the urge to pass illegally. That means following the same rules that would apply to other vehicles: never pass on curves or hills, when nearing intersections, or at railroad crossings, bridges, or tunnels.
Most farm equipment is huge compared to your average car, requiring the driver to make wide left turns. If equipment veers right, don’t take this as automatic permission to pass; check the vehicle’s cab for hand signals from the driver first. It’s not always safe for farmers to drive their equipment on the shoulder, and they could just be preparing for a left-hand turn.
Don’t Speed By
When you do pass, be courteous and don’t just roar by. Air turbulence from a speeding vehicle can cause farm equipment to sway and become unsteady.
Be aware of the distance needed to safely clear the equipment when you go by. Flashing lights or reflective tape are often used to mark the far right and left edges of the equipment, which may be wider than the road lanes.
For more information about vehicle safety and how you can protect your vehicle—whether it’s a car or a combine—contact your agent.