With harvest season approaching, road safety for rural drivers is more important than ever. Driving with consideration and alertness is crucial for the safety of yourself and farm equipment operators. Here are some tips on how to share the road.
1. Keep an Eye Out
Farm machinery may unexpectedly turn onto a road from a nearby field or driveway. It’s important to watch out for machinery in order to act swiftly.
Additionally, because of farm equipment’s large size, it is sometimes difficult for an operator to see you on the road. Even if you can see the operator, the operator may not be able to see you.
2. Slow Down
Slow down as soon as you spot farm machinery on the road. Farm equipment usually travels around 25 mph or less. As a result, it doesn’t take very long to catch up with them and collide.
Farm vehicles are also very heavy, and because of this, it takes them longer to slow down. When you slow down for them, the operator has time to react to other obstacles or vehicles on the road.
3. Stay a Safe Distance Away
Keeping a safe distance away from farm machinery will allow more visibility for you and the operator. It will also allow the operator more space to make turns.
Farm machinery often has to make wide turns and it may appear as if they’re turning a different direction than they really are. Being alert to these turns and giving the operator enough space to safely do so is crucial to road safety.
4. Pass with Caution
It’s understandable that you will want to pass farm machinery traveling slower than you. Before doing so, make sure the road is wide enough for both you and the operator.
Also, ensure that there is no oncoming traffic approaching before you attempt to pass. Be patient as unsafe passing is one of the primary factors of motor vehicle accidents.
5. Be Aware of Your Surroundings
In addition to watching for farm machinery, be aware of other vehicles and possible animals sharing the road with you.
Check for mailboxes, bridges, roadkill, or other obstacles that may cause farm vehicles to move to the center of the road of suddenly stop. Situational awareness is key to practicing road safety and avoiding accidents.
Overall, it’s best to use common sense and share the road kindly during the harvest season. Interested in learning more about harvest season? Read our blogs on Farm and Garden Harvest With Vonda and Ken Schulte + Create Your Own Canning Tote and The Story of Soybean Harvest.