September is harvest season for many crops, which means much of Kentucky will see an increase in farm equipment on public roadways.
According to the Kentucky State Police, there were 189 collisions involving farm equipment in 2017. While one-third of those accidents were cited as being caused by inattention, other causes could have also been prevented with a little extra care.
Tractors and other farm equipment have a right to use the roadways so be sure to share the road and use necessary caution.
Here are a few tips to be sure you’re being as safe as possible:
- Slow down
- Stay alert
- Watch for road signs
- Keep your distance
- Their machinery can’t move as quickly as the average passenger vehicle so be patient and stay back
- Keeping distance also ensures that the farmer can see your vehicle in their mirrors
- Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there – farm equipment can be quite loud, especially for the driver so they may not hear your vehicle approach
- Use caution when passing – regardless of how slow a tractor is moving, do not pass if you cannot clearly see what lies ahead. Also, avoid passing near a hill, curve, or within 100 years of an intersection, bridge, railroad crossing, or tunnel.
- Along with the danger of what lies ahead of your vehicle, your passing also adds an extra risk to the farmer because turbulence is created when you speed past and it may cause the equipment to sway or become unstable.
Tips for farmers:
- Be as visible as possible
- Mount your slow-moving vehicle sign as high and to the left as possible. Keep the sign clean and replace it if it’s no longer reflective
- Be sure all headlights and taillights are functioning properly
- Keep flashing lights on
- Stay as far to the right as possible
- Always use turn signals or hand signals to make your intention to turn obvious to surrounding motorists
- Pull over and let others pass when conditions allow
- Only drivers who are comfortable with the equipment should operate on public roadways
- Do not allow passengers on farm equipment
There are more than 76,000 farms in Kentucky and with harvest season upon us our roads are bound to be sprinkled with the farmers that run them. As a motorist, be courteous of the men and women that work to supply our nation with food. If motorists and farmers alike follow these simple tips, collisions involving farm equipment are sure to drop.