What’s considered a slow-moving vehicle? Many types of farming equipment hitting the highways this planting season. To keep motorists and farmers safe during planting season, the Indiana Department of Agriculture is encouraging motorists to be alert, slow down, and share the road with farm equipment.
“Due to the size of our equipment, people will often see us before we see them,” said Zach Cain, a Montgomery County farmer. “It’s important to be patient. Farmers don’t want to hold up traffic, but it can take us some time to find a safe spot to pull over.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, farm equipment vehicles (other than trucks) were involved in 92 fatal crashes across the nation.
By law, farm equipment must have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign — a red triangle-shaped reflector — to warn drivers that their equipment is on the road. These vehicles often travel at speeds no higher than 25 mph.
The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:
- Most farmers will pull over when they are able to let you pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so. Be patient.
- Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway. Be careful when passing.
- Do not pass if you are in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure, or tunnel.
- Do not try to pass a slow-moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
- Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.
- Pay special attention to stationary farm equipment on the side of the road, as there might be farmers working nearby.