Sgt. Mowers answers questions regarding farm vehicle safety:
We need to watch out for all the hazards on the road and the issue of farm vehicle safety is a big one. The first two crashes I attended as a trooper involved farm tractors pulling gravity boxes full of corn. Both of those crashes were in the day time and in both, a young driver slammed her vehicle into the back end of the gravity box. Neither of the female drivers were critically injured.
Over the years, I have attended many serious and fatal crashes involving farm vehicles. Anytime you have a slower moving vehicle upon a highway with faster traffic, it becomes a hazard. There are considerations to be taken by the farmers who drive those vehicles as well as the other motorists on our roadways. Safety is the main consideration of all. For the farmer, they need to make sure they are not taking up more than their lane, be watching out for other traffic, make sure their lights and other safety equipment are working properly. Improper or lack of lighting has been an issue in many crashes involving farm vehicles.
Other motorists need to look out for farm vehicles and slow down ahead of time. Don’t pass a farm vehicle that is coming up to a field approach or driveway. Slow down when passing a farm vehicle is a very smart and safe thing to do. Consider the time of year when watching for farm vehicles, as you will see them a lot more often during spring planting and fall harvest, even though any time is fair game for seeing farm equipment out on the roads. Paying attention is a key safety factor as well. Don’t take chances by pulling out in front of another motorist, whether you are driving a farm vehicle or regular vehicle. Farm vehicles still have to stop at stop signs and obey all traffic laws, but other motorists need to cut some slack to the farm vehicle drivers as well.