Farm operators and members of the community, I wish to gain your attention to an important matter. Having grown-up and lived in a farming community, I know the sense of urgency in farming operations – time is money. However, by over stressing the importance of urgency, farm employees often lose the need for safety and precaution.
Hustling from Point A to Point B, is all in a day’s work.
Unfortunately ‘urgency’, ‘hustling’, and ‘in a hurry’, is what killed my 19-year-old brother in October of 2012. A farm employee was returning back to the field after having his equipment repaired, failed to see my brother on the road and pulled into his path – causing a deadly collision.
Both lives were lost that day – it could have been different.
If the tractor driver would have just taken a few extra seconds to stop, two families and a community would be living very different lives today.
To our community, we too need to be aware of farm equipment. We are around it all the time, and a vast majority of us work on farm equipment on a daily basis. So let’s make it our mission, to ensure that our roads are safer during harvest season.
We can ensure that our goods make it to market, and our loved owns make it home with these simple tips:
Tips for Farmers and Rural Drivers:
Farm machinery can unexpectedly turn onto a public road from a field or driveway. It is important for everyone’s safety to have patience and share the road.
Farm machinery travels slower than normal traffic, often at speeds of 25 miles per hour 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 miles per hour 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.
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.
Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass.
Lastly, it is not always cellphones, or drunk drivers that cause collisions – it is people in general.
Keep an eye out this harvest season, and drive safe.
Lloyd Green Jr.
Publisher, Williams Pioneer Review