I don't know what it is about some automobile drivers and farm equipment but I see far too much road rage paired with the two. As farms spread out, farm equipment gets larger and highways are constructed through more farm ground, there's going to be an increased amount of tractors and trucks hauling implements.
These implements are getting bigger but the roads aren't getting any wider.
It's so important for farmers and motorists to work together and share the road. Spring planting and fall harvest seasons bring a huge increase in farm traffic in not only our area but many areas across the country.
Farm safety starts with you as an individual. Whether you are in the tractor, out of the tractor or in an automobile, it's important to stay alert and be aware with whats' going on in every unique situation.
Yes, it's very easy to get upset when you're behind moving farm equipment. It's no different than being stopped at traffic light or finding yourself in a city traffic jam at rush hour. It's a part of life whether we like it or not.
I created a graphic last fall that went sort of viral. It was in regards to road safety during harvest season. I didn't intend for people to share it, as road rage is just a personal issue/pet peeve of mine. Apparently, this is a large, growing issue that upsets many people.
It was brought to my attention that we needed an updated, spring version. Craig Morgan's song International Harvestor inspired me. I know he was trying to bring good humor to the country music world but his song also raises awareness.
Road rage and farm equipment are not a good mix. Once again, last night as I was hauling our seed tender home in the truck, I was approached by a car that flew around me at full speed nearly throwing himself in the ditch. It was hard for me to get over since I had power lines a mail box and a fence working against me and the auger. I felt bad, but what else am I to do? I didn't see him appraching. If that car would have waited just a few more minutes, I would have turned right and been safely out of his way.
It's not always the person in the motor vehicle's fault, either. It's up to farmers to keep all safety features of the tractor up to date and working along with taking in their surroundings before pulling out onto a road.
Things to keep in mind when traveling near farm equipment:
- It takes 224 feet for a vehicle traveling 55 mph to stop. When you see the SMV sign or a piece of large equipment, instantly slow down and assess the situation
- When hauling large wagons, it's nearly impossible for a farmer to see approaching vehicles in the rear view mirrors
- Sometimes SMV signs fall off and flashing lights short out. It's up to the farmer to keep these maintained but you can't always rely on them
- Tractors and implements require very wide, slow turns. When attempting to pass, make sure the farmer is not attempting to make a left turn
- Lanes are often times more narrow than the equipment passing through. Allow plenty of room
- It's hard for a farmer traveling with large equipment to get over with fence, poles, mailboxes and other obstacles in the way
- Leave earlier especially in the spring and fall as there will be a lot of equipment out and about
- Acknowledge and make eye contact with the farmer so you know they see you before passing
- Last but not least, smile and wave!