As harvest season approaches, Sheriff Luke Hennen is urging motorists to exercise caution and follow safety guidelines when sharing the road with farm equipment. Harvest season is a busy time for farmers, and the presence of slow-moving machinery on the roadways increases significantly. To ensure the safety of all road users, Sheriff Hennen is emphasizing the importance of vigilance and patience while driving.
“Harvest season is a critical time for our agricultural community, and we want everyone to stay safe on our roads,” said Sheriff Luke Hennen. “Motorists and farm equipment operators must work together to prevent accidents and protect lives. By following these safety tips, we can make our roads safer for everyone.”
Tips for Motorists:
- Slow Down and Use Caution: Reduce your speed when approaching farm equipment, and never assume that the equipment operator can see you.
- Be Prepared for Equipment on the Roadway: Farm machinery may enter the road unexpectedly, so be ready to slow down if you see equipment traveling toward or alongside the road.
- No-Passing Zones: Passing in a "no-passing zone" is both dangerous and illegal. Wait until it's safe and legal to pass.
- Watch for Debris: Be vigilant for debris dropped by trucks carrying farm equipment. It's safer to drive through debris than to swerve into oncoming traffic or off the road.
- No Turn Signals: Farm equipment typically lacks turn signals, so be cautious of unanticipated left turns and increase your following distance, especially at night.
- Expect Wide Equipment: Farm equipment can be wide and may require more space when turning. Anticipate wider turns and even equipment traveling in both lanes to make proper turns.
- Avoid Sudden Stops: Don't abruptly pull in front of farm equipment and then slow down. These vehicles may be towing heavy machinery, making quick stops impossible.
- Watch for Signals: Pay attention to hand signals and other ways farmers may try to communicate with you. They often have a higher vantage point and will signal when it's safe to pass.
Tips for Farm Equipment Operators:
- Slow-Moving Vehicle Sign: Ensure your tractor or implement has a “slow-moving vehicle” triangle affixed to the rear to make it visible to motorists.
- Reflective Tape or Decals: Attach reflective tape or decals, especially at the widest point of the equipment or implement, to enhance visibility.
- Use Lights and Flashers: Utilize lights and flashers to make your equipment more visible to other road users, especially during low-light conditions or at night.
- Consider a Follow Vehicle: When moving equipment, especially at night, consider using a follow vehicle to provide additional visibility and warning to other drivers.
- Secure Your Load: Properly secure any loads you are transporting to prevent debris from falling onto the road.