This harvest season, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is reminding motorists to keep a watchful eye for slow-moving farm vehicles. Being patient, driving carefully and respecting boundaries are all equally important when driving around farm vehicles.
“It can be easy to forget that farmers are simply doing their jobs when moving equipment from field to field,” said Robert Brinkmann, chairman of the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission and the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety. “It’s important that we as drivers be patient and give them the space they need, so we can all reach our destinations safely.”
Motorists that are unfamiliar with farming communities may not immediately recognize farm equipment on roadways or be aware of the special hazards they present. Lighting and reflector locations on tractors, combines and other farm equipment are different from other motor vehicles. Loads on farm vehicles may be wider than other vehicles, which present special hazards for other motorists when left, right, rear and front projections are not easily recognizable.
The most common collisions occur when the approaching motorist hits a farm vehicle from behind (rear-end collision), or when a passing motorist hits a farm vehicle that is attempting to make a wide left turn (left sideswipe).
The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends these simple tips when driving around slow-moving farm machinery:
- Be mindful that it’s harvest season and keep an eye out for machinery.
- Be patient and remember that farmers are just doing their jobs.
- Always pass on the left and only when you have clear sight distance.
- Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense in any traffic crash.
- Pay full attention to the road and put your cell phone down.
Missouri’s strategic highway safety plan, Show-Me Zero, provides more information on how all Missourians can do their part to achieve zero traffic fatalities. The plan can be viewed at www.savemolives.com.