Roadway safety encouraged during harvest season

Imagine you are driving on a rural Indiana road when traffic suddenly comes to halt behind a heavy piece of farm equipment.

What do you do?

Harvest season is here, and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture is reminding drivers to be mindful when sharing the road with farm equipment.

This could include tractors, grain wagons or carts, combines, and other large trucks transporting agricultural products.

Although these vehicles are the key to a successful harvest, they can cause some traffic headaches.

If you get caught behind one, Purdue Extension Office Educator, Ken Eck, says to be patient.

“Sometimes you’re just stuck behind a farmer for a while. If you can’t see what’s on other side of a curve or hill, or have an object such as a mail box or trees blocking your view, then it is not safe for you, or the farmer, to pass,” he says.

Farmers are required to have a red triangle-shaped reflector on their equipment to warn approaching drivers that slow-moving equipment is on the road. And most farmers don’t go above 25 mph.

Drivers are allowed to pass farmers in large equipment, but only if it is safe to do so. Eck explains what to look out for and what how to avoid certain risks.

“If you know that there will be farmers around in the morning, try leaving five minutes early. Definitly don’t pass farmers on a hill or places where you can’t see what’s on the other side. And make sure the farmer can see you. This can be challenging because of the size of the machinery, so definitely take your time,” Eck says.

At all times, follow the rules of the road: don’t tailgate farm equipment, pass only in designated passing zones, and ensure you are following the hands-free driving law.

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