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In the Short Rows: - Sharing the Road with Farm Vehicles

In the Short Rows:

By Lauren Stanley Montgomery Co. Agriculture & Natural Resources/4-H Youth Development Agent

I can’t begin to describe the amount of effort a producer puts into their crops. From pre-plant decisions to monitoring rain, constantly checking fields, sometimes replanting, and caring for the crop, a lot happens between the farm and your plate. Just one of those processes is harvesting the crop. To do this, many producers have to move their equipment from field to field, which sometimes means going from one end of the county to the next, or traveling to a neighboring county. Here are a couple of things to keep in mind as we move into the harvest season.

Always look for the orange (or red) sign on the back of farm equipment! A triangular orange/red sign indicates a slow-moving vehicle. Be sure to slow down! According to a statistic shared by American Farm Bureau, it only takes approximately five seconds for a car traveling fifty-five miles per hour to close the distance of a football field on a tractor or combine. Stay aware, and slow down!

I’m sure we’ve all been there- late to work, and going a bit faster than we should, when we come up on a slow-moving vehicle… resist the urge to pass farm equipment until it is safe to do so. Never pass on curves or hills, at intersections, or railroad crossings and bridges. If you choose to pass, do so at a safe speed. Some farm vehicles are wider than traditional lanes, so be sure to take note of oversized equipment. Move over if possible and when safe to do so.

Most of all, be patient and be aware – look for slow-moving vehicle signs, flashing lights, flags indicating wide loads, and hand signals from the driver. Allow room between your vehicle and theirs in the lane, as farm equipment moves slower and requires more time for braking. And if you end up behind a farm vehicle, be sure to thank the producer driving it – they’re working hard to ensure our country’s safe, secure food supply!

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