With farmers in and out of fields for planting season, it’s important for everyone to do their part to help keep our farmers and motorists safe. Many of the on-road accidents can be avoided by having patience, using extreme caution, and following a few simple recommendations:
Recommendations for Motorists:
- Wait until it’s safe to pass farm equipment. Make sure you have clear visibility and plenty of time to get around them.
- Slow down at the first sight of farm equipment on the roadway. According to Iowa Department of Transportation data, about 20 percent of all traffic accidents involving farm equipment are rear-end collisions. Problems occur when vehicles traveling at higher speeds come upon a tractor or other slow-moving equipment and motorists do not have time to slow down.
- Drive defensively, especially when approaching on-coming farm equipment. Impatient motorists may attempt to pass when it’s not safe or when they have poor visibility.
- Be prepared to stop at railroad crossings when following a vehicle towing anhydrous ammonia. Federal and state regulations require all vehicles transporting this substance to come to a complete stop prior to crossing any active railroad tracks.
Recommendations for Farmers:
- Always mount Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems to equipment. This is the law in many states.
- Use turn signals or proper hand signals to communicate intentions to motorists.
- Make sure equipment has appropriate lighting and/or have an escort vehicle follow you to allow for the best visibility for approaching motorists.
- If traffic is backing up behind you, attempt to let traffic pass when there are no oncoming vehicles.
Road safety this planting season is in our control. These recommendations and a little patience, caution, and common sense can go a long way towards making sure our farmers and motorists stay safe.
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