Spring brings increased farm equipment movement on roadways

Ag/Outdoor, News

April 30th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowa’s warm winter and early spring have farmers more ready than ever to get into the fields for spring planting, meaning Iowa motorists will soon be sharing the road with farm vehicles. The Iowa Department of Transportation is urging motorists and farm vehicle operators to exercise caution during the movement of slow-moving equipment on Iowa’s roadways. Data for 2011 shows a total of 198 crashes involved farm equipment. Those crashes resulted in seven fatalities, 15 major injuries, 46 minor injuries and 55 other possible injuries. Of the 198 crashes, 119 resulted only in property damage.

Tips for motorists

  • Be alert and always watch for slow-moving vehicles, especially during planting and harvest seasons.
  • Be patient and do not assume the equipment operator can move aside to let you pass. The shoulder may not be able to support a heavy farm vehicle.
  • Slow down as soon as you see the triangular-shaped, red and fluorescent orange slow-moving vehicle emblem.

Tips for farm vehicle operators

  • Make your intentions known when you are turning by using signal lights or the appropriate hand signal in advance of the turn.
  • Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. Traveling partially on the shoulder may cause motorists to risk passing in a dangerous situation.
  • Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the traffic go by.
  • Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train extends 3 feet beyond the tracks on both sides.