Spring planting is in full swing and with it comes added vehicles and farm equipment on rural roads. Farmers have been out and about for weeks across America's heartland—prepping and transferring implements from farm to farm to make sure the planting season is a smooth one. However, the work won’t likely slow for a while which could cause challenges for regularl everyday drivers competing for road space.
Over the next few months farmers will be working longer hours—starting their days before sunrise without resting until long after sunset. They will be moving tractors, planters and tillage equipment that are often oversized and slow-moving—making it difficult for motorists to know how to behave when sharing the road.
“Drivers are urged to exercise caution and drive defensively especially when agricultural equipment is present,” said Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative of COUNTRY Financial. “Farmers are under an intense amount of pressure during planting season. Caution and patience are key.”
Typical crashes with farm equipment include sideswipes and angle crashes. They occur most often when a driver attempts to pass a slow-moving vehicle, or does not realize a farmer is turning or stopping.
Recommendations for drivers
1. Follow state driving laws
2. Remember to decrease speed and approach agricultural equipment with care
3. Never pass farm equipment in a no passing zone
4. Remember farm equipment may be wider than what is visible from behind, and it may be difficult to see if traffic is approaching in the opposite direction
5. Maintain a safe following distance
6. Consider taking an alternative route during peak commuting times such as sunrise and sunset
“We all share the responsibility of making our roads safe,” Vanasdale said. “We can do our part by driving defensively and avoiding dangerous situations as much as possible.”