Sharing the Road with Farm Equipment: Top 5 Safety Considerations

Sharing the Road with Farm Equipment: Top 5 Safety Considerations

There are two times of year drivers need to take precautions on rural roads, and that is in the spring and fall! In the spring, farmers are eagerly hitting the fields for planting season, and in the fall, harvest. These times of year are busy for farmers and drivers can expect to encounter more farm equipment on their commute.

Drivers should use extreme caution in rural areas and remain alert for tractors and other farm vehicles, remember:

1. Slow down on rural roads

Crashes are more likely to occur on high-speed roads (over 50 MPH speed limits) which are often those that surround farming operations. Farm equipment often travels at slow speeds, so to reduce the risk of a collision, you should start braking when you see the slow-moving vehicle emblem. You should always maintain a distance of about 50 feet from moving farm equipment on a roadway.

2. Pass with caution

Follow the standard passing precautions: waiting for a safe passing zone and watching for oncoming traffic before signaling over and returning to the lane once the vehicle is in your rearview mirror.

If the vehicle appears to be too wide to pass, wait to pass until the operator pulls over and signals it’s safe. Honk your horn before passing just in case the operator can’t see you.

3. Yield to farm equipment

Farm equipment traveling the opposite direction should be given the right-of-way as they cannot always pull over to the road’s shoulder safely. Drivers should pull onto the shoulder or into a turn-out to allow the farm vehicle to pass safely.

4. Be patient

Always assess the situation before driving past farm machinery. Watch for driveways, roads, or fields that the vehicle may be entering. Also ensure the operator isn’t signaling with hand gestures or lights of their intention to turn. NEVER speed past a farm vehicle in a no-passing zone because the vehicle is moving slowly. Everyone will get where they are going – safely!

5. Look twice

Tall crops can create “blind” corners, so always double-check to make sure your path is clear in all directions before you pull into an intersection or make a move to pass. Also remember that farm vehicles can enter/exit the roadway from unmarked access drives on the fields.

Of course, there are more things to consider on rural roads outside of farm equipment! Click here to learn about more dangers drivers should be cognizant of on rural roads.

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Amy Casey
Social Media & Communications Specialist
Amy joined Rockford Mutual in January of 2017 with an Associates Degree in Marketing. Amy has a great understanding of insurance in general as she has obtained her Associate in General Insurance designation.