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Farmers and Drivers are Reminded to Safely Share the Road this Growing Season

Farmers and Drivers are Reminded to Safely Share the Road this Growing Season

Farmers are taking advantage of the warmer and drier conditions and are working tirelessly to finish up a long and difficult planting season along with other springtime activities like cutting hay and hauling grain. All of this means that farmers and their equipment are spending more time on our county roadways moving from one field to the next.

Indiana State Police state there are over 1,000 motor vehicle accidents a year between pedestrian vehicles and tractors or other large farming equipment. It is important that drivers practice extraordinary caution when encountering these types of large machinery on the road. According to NACTO, it takes five seconds for a car driving at 55 mph to cover the length of a football field when coming up on a tractor moving at 15 mph. Distracted driving is dangerous at any time, but especially when traveling behind a vehicle that is moving substantially slower than the typical flow of traffic. Remaining attentive and patient is vital to keep pedestrian drivers and their passengers safe as well as our farmers who are working diligently to feed a growing population. It is important to remember that farmers don’t like a line of traffic behind them anymore than the drivers do. It is a stressful experience for everyone involved. The state of Indiana enforces a slow poke law, which means if three or more vehicles are behind the farm equipment, the farmer must pull over and let the cars pass. Most farmers will pull over to allow any traffic to pass at the first opportunity that it is safe to do so.

Rural road safety is everyone’s responsibility. Farmers must remain highly alert and drive defensively every moment they are behind the wheel of a piece of equipment. Farmers and heavy machinery operators should observe the following protocols to help keep everyone safe as we travel our rural roadways this spring and summer growing seasons:

  • Avoid highly-trafficked roads whenever possible, even if travel time will be longer.
  • Observe road travel precautions for specific equipment. Some tractors may freewheel in higher gears, which can be very dangerous when coming down a hill. Use lower gear ranges when climbing or descending hills.
  • If possible, drive on the shoulder of a paved highway.
  • When cars are lined up behind you, and there is a suitable shoulder or other safe area available, pull over to let the traffic pass.
  • If possible, it is best to move equipment in daylight during periods of light traffic.
  • Travel after dark only if absolutely necessary. Remember that you need proper lighting for night driving.
  • If your view is ever obstructed, don’t take chances! Enter, travel, and exit roadways with the upmost caution.
  • Obey all traffic laws and signs. Courtesy is a key component of road safety!
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