Citizens are reminded “that the farm planting season is upon us and often requires large farm machinery to be on the road. This requires drivers in rural areas to be alert to the possibility of encountering slow-moving farm machines. Motorists should be prepared to slow or stop to avoid a collision,” reports Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum.
He offers tips for farmers and drivers:
• Farm machinery can unexpectedly turn onto a public road from a field or driveway. It is important for everyone to have patience and share the road;
• Farm machinery travels slower than normal traffic, often at speeds of 25 mph or less. Automobile drivers must quickly identify farm equipment and slow down immediately to avoid rear end crashes;
• Slow moving farm machinery, traveling at less than 25 mph, are required to display a slow moving vehicle emblem on the back of the equipment. This is a quickly identifiable sign to other motorists. All lighting should be working properly and be highly visible;
• Slow moving vehicles are required to pull off to the right when three or more vehicles are blocked and cannot pass on the left; and
• Machinery that is half on the road and half on the shoulder may suddenly move completely onto the road. Machinery may take up more than one lane to avoid obstacles such as road signs;
Before passing farm machinery:
• Check to be sure that machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals. If the machinery slows and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator is likely preparing to make a wide left turn. Likewise, sometimes to make a right turn with wide equipment, the driver must fade to the left;
• Determine if the road is wide enough for you and the machinery to safely share;
• Look for roadside obstacles, such as mailboxes, bridges or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road; and
• Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass.
“Extra patience, careful driving habits and the use of highly visible markings and lighting will help prevent crashes involving farm machines and automobiles,” Slocum points out.