Spring weather is here and farmers are beginning to plant their crops across the state’s 15 million acres of farmland. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture and several state agencies are reminding Hoosier motorists to be alert, be courteous and be patient when they encounter farm equipment on Indiana’s rural roads.
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler says farmers want to move their equipment as quickly and safely as possible.
While the term “farm equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common types motorists will encounter during planting season include sprayers, tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.
The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:
- Most farmers will pull over when they are able to let you pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so. Be careful and patient when passing.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.
- Do not pass within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure, or tunnel.
- Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway. Exercise caution when passing.
- Do not tailgate farm vehicles, as they might have to make sudden stops along the road.
- Do not try to pass a slow-moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
The following organizations will be working together to share these safety tips during harvest season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Indiana State Police.
Special thanks to Hoosier Ag Today for the public safety announcement shown below.