Spring is finally here! The warm weather, the sun, the rain and the wind. It almost means farm equipment is out on the road.
Planting will soon be in full swing, and with it comes added vehicles and farm equipment on roads. Farmers have already been out and about for a little bit – prepping and transferring implements from farm to farm to make sure the season is a smooth one. However, the work won’t likely slow for a while, which could cause challenges for 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 drivers 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 collisions 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.”
Most recently, my son had a vehicle rollover. It had nothing to do with farm equipment on the road, but did have to deal with backroads. Drivers are so distracted anymore and fly on the country roads. He was coming over a hill and another driver was headed the opposite direction in his lane. While we are very fortunate he is OK, his car was totaled. The other driver never even stopped. Honestly, they probably never even knew, since they would have been over the hill before he started to roll.
So, I personally ask anyone traveling on our rural county roads to slow down, and while the road does not have a center line, be sure you stay on your side of the road! Luckily he also had his cellphone tucked inside his hoodie pocket. It did not fly around, and he had it when he needed to call 911.