Road Safety around Farm Equipment
It’s that time of year! Field season is underway, and a significant amount of time is spent on the road getting to and from our sites. These warmer months bring out various motorists onto the highways and range roads, making it important to discuss safety around farm equipment.
Farm equipment uses rural highways and range roads, and – because of its size, slower speed, and habit of kicking up clouds of dust – its presence can affect driving conditions for all road users. Farm equipment generally has an increased presence on the road between May and October.
Multi-vehicle collisions involving farm equipment usually happen when operators turn onto public roadways, or when drivers miscalculate the speed and/or size of the equipment they’re trying to pass.
Operating farm equipment isn’t the same as driving a truck or passenger vehicle. Equipment may not have turn signals; an operator might not be able to see what’s beside them; and machinery could be hauling a heavy load.
The following is a list of tips and things to keep in mind while on the road:
- Read the signs: Slow moving vehicles should have orange or red triangles placed on the back of the equipment.
- Eyes on the road: Stay alert for farm equipment when travelling in rural areas.
- Keep your distance.
- Have patience: Make sure you give farm equipment operators enough time and space to turn and enter or exit the road.
- Be extra cautious: Assume the operator can’t see you. If you must pass, ensure you have ample time, lane space, and enough distance to do so safely. Resist the urge to pass illegally – never pass on curves, hills, or when nearing intersections, railroad crossings, bridges, and tunnels. The size ofarm equipment usually requires the driver to make wide left turns. If equipment veers right, don’t take this as an automatic permission to pass. Check the vehicle’s cab for hand signals from the driver first. It’s not always safe for operators to drive their equipment on the shoulder, and they could just be preparing for a left-hand turn.
Stacey Van Roessel