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Farm Equipment Safety: Tips for Both Sides on the Road

Collisions with a tractor or combine harvester may not be making the local news, but if you live in a rural area, they occur more often than you might think.

Safety precautions on agricultural equipment (i.e. tractors, harvesters, combines) are not as commonly known to motorists as the answers to the questions on a standard Driver’s Ed. test, especially when many have never been in the driver’s seat of a tractor.

Sizeable Safety

Depending on the model, a combine harvester can weigh more than 45,000 lbs. That is equivalent to about five vehicles. In short – they can cause a variety of damage.

While common sense and good judgment should always be emphasized, it's also important to discuss driving safety tips when both parties need to share the road.

Tips for Farmers:

  • Know the high-traffic times and when not to travel.
    • Avoid these times on the road as people are more prone to aggressive driving.
  • Make farm equipment visible with lights and flashers: Verify that all lights and flashers on your farm vehicle are working properly.
    • Use warning flashers, flags, lights and slow-moving vehicle emblems on all equipment.
    • Apply reflective tape to machines to improve visibility for motorists.
  • Avoid traveling before dawn and after dusk (if you can).
    • These hours change road visibility for everyone.
    • Remember, headlights help you see and be seen.
  • Be mindful of the size of your farm vehicle.
    • Know your limits in terms of height to safely clear power lines, low bridges and other overhead obstacles.
  • Check your towed equipment.
    • All loads should be balanced and securely mounted.

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Tips For Everyone Else:

  • On average, farm equipment moves between five and 15 miles per hour.
    • Always be aware of slow-moving vehicles when approaching, especially farm equipment, and expect tractors to travel even slower.
  • Watch for hand signals and other ways a farmer may try to communicate with you.
    • They have a higher vantage point, and will often signal to you when it’s safe to pass.
  • Give tractors and harvesting combines plenty of room to operate on the road.
    • Expect them to make wide turns and at times, even need to drive in both lanes.
  • Don’t ever pull in front of a vehicle and immediately slow down, especially farm equipment.
    • First of all, that's not nice.
    • More importantly, a tractor often tows heavy machinery that makes sudden stopping impossible.

Because Nice Matters

Luckily, for each of us, the best rule is also the simplest — be kind. Follow the rules of the road and remain aware and defensive. Because, a defensive driver is a considerate driver and a considerate driver is a safe and attentive motorist.

Remember that the person next to you on the road is trying to travel from point A to point B just like you. And no one’s arrival time or destination is more important than causing the other harm.

Whether it’s a John Deere Combine or a red, compact Subaru, both are considered large machinery in comparison to a human, and in the event of an accident, can cause a variety of damage, which is also expensive.

Put the Professionals to Work

If you or a loved one has been harmed in an accident with farm equipment, call the professional experts at Bart Durham Injury Law 24/7. They believe in justice and holding the negligent party accountable for their actions. You may be entitled to compensation for property damage and/or personal injuries sustained. Consultations are always FREE and you pay nothing until they win your case!

Contact Bart Durham Injury Law Today

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