Now that spring is in full swing, countless counties across the country are reminding local cars to share the road with farm machinery.
Spring is the start of planting season for many farmers across the United States. But as they start to grow the surplus of crops that feed our nation, many drivers aren’t giving farmers and their machinery the space that they need. In 2018 alone, 92 farm vehicle-related crashes occurred throughout the United States.
We’ve come a long way from the first machine tools of the bow lathe and drill. Farmers now use a variety of tools, vehicles, and heavy farming equipment in order to plant, harvest, and transport agricultural products. As such, it’s not uncommon to get stuck behind a slow-moving piece of machinery.
But even though this hampers your daily commute, deputies are reminding civilian drivers that farmers have a legal right to use the road. Many sheriffs have outlined safety measures to prevent drivers from making fatal mistakes.
“Often times, it is difficult to estimate the speed and size of slow-moving vehicle as drivers approach from either direction. Due to this difficulty, drivers often find themselves upon these slow-moving vehicles with little time to react or take appropriate measures to avoid a collision,” notes Sheriff Peter Cates of Franklin County, IN.
This, of course, can lead to potentially devastating consequences. In some cases, farm trucks and machinery will transport up to 80,000 pounds of materials, combined with the gross weight of the vehicle. In other cases, equipment can exceed the maximum weight limit by 7.5%. To make a fertilizing slurry, you need a combination of seed, mulch, fertilizer, water, and soil to get started. To fertilize a whole field, you’ll need a lot of each component.
Here are some of the top ways you can stay safe while sharing the road with a farming vehicle:
- Never pass in a “No Passing Zone.”
- Watch for the triangle on the back of the farming machinery. This triangle denotes a slow-moving vehicle, typically those that travel under 25 mph.
- Watch for hand signals from the driver. Because their vehicles are large, they need more space to make a turn.
- Share the road. Farmers know their machines can be a hassle to commuters. But driving in an unsafe manner puts everyone at risk.
- Install a dash cam. Dash cams help drivers record accidents and other road hazards. It’s no wonder the dash cam market was worth $1.4 billionback in 2014. This number has only grown as more people opt for these safety measures.
When the first warm days of spring and summer first arrive, everyone wants to take to the road. Just be sure to share it safely with the farmers who need it, too.