The Indiana State Police is reminding the public that farmers will begin harvesting this year’s crops which means more slow-moving agricultural equipment will be traveling on Indiana’s rural roads and highways. Police want to remind everyone to stay alert and be courteous to ensure we all get home safely.
In 2019 in Indiana, farm equipment vehicles (other than trucks) were involved in three accidents, with one fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.
Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide and sometimes take up most of the road, often traveling at speeds no greater than 25 mph.
State Police gave a list that includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:
-Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
-Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
-Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
-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.
-Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
-Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.