Driving behind farm equipment: Do your part
Spring planting and fall harvest are busy times. Farmers and workers have big equipment and implements on the road. Navigating roadways can be dangerous for farm equipment operators and auto drivers who follow behind them.
According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 410 farmers and farm workers died from work-related injuries in 2019. Transportation incidents, which included tractor overturns, were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers.
Follow these safety tips to make it safer for everyone involved.
- Make sure all flashers and lights are operational.
- Drive as far to the right side of the road as possible when going around a curve.
- Pull over and allow vehicles to pass when traffic builds up behind you.
- Take care at railroad crossings.
- Avoid traveling during busy traffic times.
- Be mindful of the height and width of machinery, watching power lines, bridges and other hazards.
- Along with turn signals, use hand signals.
- Stay rested; do not drive when you are too tired or hungry.
- Keep a first-aid kit in case of accidents.
- Think about how long it will take to get to your destination and add extra time for busy farm roads.
- Give farmers plenty of room on the road. If a piece of equipment takes up the entire road, pull into a driveway or area and wait for them to pass.
- When passing, be sure you do so in a passing zone and that there is clear visibility around farm equipment. Watch for oncoming vehicles.
- Go slow. Farm operators often stop or turn into fields. In addition, cars going at or over the speed limit can catch up to farm machinery quickly, since farmers in equipment move slowly.
- Do not assume that a farmer can move over in narrow areas; it is not always possible.
- Honk or motion when passing farmers, they may not see you or know you are there; their equipment is big and noisy.
- Do not tailgate; the farmer often cannot see you.
- Do not pass and then slow suddenly in front of equipment with implements behind it or farm trucks full of grain. They cannot stop quickly.
- Farmers make very wide turns; give them plenty of time and room.
These are a few tips to make it safer for both the equipment operator and auto drivers and to provide a more pleasant drive for all.
For more electrical safety information, visit SafeElectricity.org.