St. Paul, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) -- The Minnesota Department of Transportation asks motorists and farm equiptment operators to safely share the road during harvest season.
Officials at MnDOT are telling motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this fall to be aware of large farm equiptment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants.
This message stems from two recent crashes, one fatal, involving farm equipment.
"Harvest season is in full swing and farmers in every corner of the state are out using the highways," said Sue Groth, state traffic engineer. "Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads."
Farm equptment is heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop.
The machines also take wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line.
Farm vehicles can also create large blind sports, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles.
During 2009-2011, there were 409 traffic crashes in the state involving one farm vehicle, resulting in 18 fatalities and 229 injuries.
Of the 18 fatalities, seven were farm vehicle riders; of the 229 injuries, 69 were farm vehicle riders, according to the Department of Public Safety.
"The leading contributing crash factors in farm equiptment/vehicle crashes are inattention, speeding and unsafe passing," Groth said. "When approaching farm equipment, motorists should slow down and use extreme caution."
Posted to the web by Jenna Vogt