As harvest approaches and we start seeing more and more farm machinery on the road, it’s nice to be reminded of safety tips. Farmers are beginning to get into the fields, which means more are having to travel down county and country roads. When motorists are traveling in these areas it is nice to have a reminder of what to do when you come across large tractors, implements, and combines.
1. Watch for Farm Machinery
They're not that hard to spot: giant green, red and blue machines in fields of brown. As soon as you spot a tractor or combine slow down and share the road with them.
2. Slow Down and Stay Back
Being so large, they cannot travel at speeds of 55 or 70 like your car can, so be prepared to slow down to 20 miles per hour or even slower. With that being said, it means you need to give them some space on the road too. They weigh thousands of pounds and are as big as a house, so they aren’t able to stop in five seconds. Remember to give them the space they need to slow down and turn and have some patience.
3. Pass With Caution
Again, take size into consideration when you are passing farm machinery. When they are bigger than the given lane it means that oncoming traffic and following traffic need to take precaution. Farmers are more than willing to pull off on the shoulder to let you pass (they understand they are a slow moving vehicle) but if they go from the shoulder onto the road then stay back! Understand that if a bridge or guard rail is coming up, they can’t stay on the shoulder and will have to take the majority of the road. When this happens, have patience because your life and that farmer’s life are more important than wherever you are going.
4. If You Can’t See the Farmer, They Can’t See You
If you are directly behind the combine or tractor and cannot see its mirrors, how do you expect the person in the farm equipment to spot you? Stay back and be cautious, because if a car and a tractor go head to head in an accident, the bigger of the two is obviously going to win.
5. Treat Them With Respect
These are the men and women helping to put food on your table, so there is no need to be angry with them for doing their job. I’m sure plenty of farmers have been flipped off or honked at for being a slow moving vehicle, but it is not necessary. They are being careful to keep you safe, so it is polite to only do the same for them. They have a family to go home to at the end of the day and so do you, so for the sake of everybody please drive smart this harvest.