Farmers will agree that drivers should be reminded that nearly all of their
machinery and equipment is big, slow and not easily maneuverable on common
roads. This is an especially important reminder as Hoosier farmers are
busiest in the spring months. The weather warms up and they are traveling
with heavy equipment to crop beds and fields to prepare the soil for planting
seeds of corn, carrots, soybean, cabbage, lettuce, and potatoes.
It’s also important to remember that tractor and farm equipment operators
are not required to drive on the road shoulders. In fact, some Indiana
farmers can only access their fields from traveling on roads with motor
vehicles and may need to make wide turns as they arrive to the entrance
to them. The mix of a slow traveling farm tractor hauling equipment and
a fast motor vehicle can create a very short window of time before meeting
if not paying attention. Being able to stop safely without a crash is
In addition, farmers (and farm equipment operators) may not be able to
see very well around large and awkward equipment. Other drivers shouldn’t
assume that a farmer knows they are approaching or that they are even
on the road with them. Even with large extended mirrors to review traffic
though, when a driver is following too closely, it is likely their vehicle
won’t be visible to the farm equipment operator. Keeping a safe
distance back is smart.
Farm equipment may swing out differently than expected and cause a tragic
accident for motorists who pass at the wrong time. In fact, a majority
of crashes between farm equipment and motor vehicles occur when the tractor
or equipment operator slows down to make a left turn and the motorist
moves to pass at the same time. Drivers should make sure that if they
are going to pass farm machinery, the driver is not about to turn left.
Drivers should be on the lookout for driveways into farms or fields and
be aware of other drivers who may be trying to pass as well. Most farmers
will pull off to allow traffic to pass, but they have been trained to
do this only when it is safe. For example, if wet weather has made the
shoulders of the roads too soft for the weight of their loads, a farmer
may be forced to stay on the roadway. And remember, it is illegal to pass
farm equipment (or other vehicles) in no passing zones. From time to time,
drivers may travel near farm machinery that does not have brake lights
or turn signals. This can often test the patience of most drivers, but
it is important to stay alert and pass only when it is safe.
Indiana Prairie Farmer is a local authority for farmers and producers across Indiana. The group
published an article in 2017 titled,
6 Safety Rules for Farm Equipment on Roads. Here is the summary of those rules to help farmers and farm equipment
operators travel share the road as safely possible.
It’s best practice for all motorists who are operating a car or a
farm vehicle to do so wisely and follow the rules of the road. Driving
on the side of safety is the smart choice for both types of drivers.
If you have been injured, or a loved one killed, in a
collision between a motor vehicle and farm equipment, call the attorneys at Wagner Reese to schedule a free consultation. Stephen
Wagner and Jason Reese can work with you and help determine whether you
might be eligible for injury compensation, medical benefits, permanent
or temporary disability, or death benefits.
If you would like legal advice on an accident, give us a call today at
(888) 204-8440 to schedule a free consultation or speak with us by
submitting our online form and our attorneys will review your information.