Coroner urges caution on roads during harvest season
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[September 21, 2010]
As this fall approaches, Logan County's
farmers have started taking to the fields to harvest their crops.
While driving, you may encounter farm equipment. It may be a single
vehicle, like a combine, or perhaps a tractor with an implement in
tow. Farm vehicles must operate on highways in order to move between
farms, fields and grain elevators. Just as motorists are entitled to
drive their vehicles on public roadways, farmers are legally allowed
to operate farm equipment on the same roads.
"Caution, courtesy and special attention to the following tips will
ensure the safety of motorists, passengers and operators of
slow-moving equipment," said Logan County Coroner Robert Thomas.
slow-moving vehicles on the road. They come in a variety of
shapes and sizes. A good road safety rule is to look for an
orange triangle emblem and use caution when you see the
triangle, which indicates a slow-moving vehicle.
Know that most
farm equipment travels under 25 mph. If you are traveling 60
mph, you cover a football field's length in only a few seconds.
To avoid collision, slow your vehicle as soon as you see farm
equipment in the road. Be prepared to stop at all times.
Watch for turn
signals. Farm equipment doesn't always have brake lights or turn
signals, and many farmers use hand signals to show their
Be aware that
farmers with long or broad equipment must sometimes swing wide
(like a semi) to make turns. If a tractor swings to the right,
don't attempt to pass. It may still be turning left.
Remember that the
farmer has an important job. He's not there to inconvenience
you. The farmer may be unable to pull off the road due to
equipment weight or road shoulder issues. Wait for a safe
opportunity to pass.
Give farmers wide
berth when passing. Some equipment takes up more than one travel
lane. Often there are pieces protruding from the tractor, and
the protruding parts can be difficult to see. Pass widely, and
return to the driving lane far ahead of the farmer. Do not pass
and then slow down or stop directly in front of the farm
vehicle. Large equipment can't brake as quickly as a car.
Be courteous, just
as you would with any other vehicle on the road. Common sense is
the primary factor in travel safety.
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Thomas provides the following tips for farmers using the public
Make sure all
safety lights are clean and working. Replace any worn SMV
emblems. Add reflective tape to your equipment: yellow on the
sides, orange or red to the rear.
Try not to group
pieces of equipment together when traveling on high-traffic
roadways. Motorists need time to pass and return to their lane.
Space equipment to allow motorists to pass one unit at a time.
Limit movements of
equipment during evening, darkness or peak traffic hours.
Keep lights on and
flashing, even in the daytime.
Use pilot cars, one in front and one in
back, if you are going a considerable distance.
The Logan County coroner's office encourages motorists and
farmers to share the roadways in a courteous, common-sense manner.
"Doing so," Thomas says, "will help ensure a safe fall harvest for
Logan County's farmers and safe travel for motorists."
[Text from file received from the
Logan County coroner's office]