Rep. Davisson: Road safety in harvest season

Posted by: Lindsay Devlin  | Friday, October 9, 2015

Indiana has over 58,000 farms, so it is likely that you have seen some farm equipment traveling on the roadways, as fall harvest is in full swing. I have received calls from constituents with questions and concerns about sharing the road with harvest vehicles. I want to highlight some tips to ensure the safety of you and your family.

It is always important to be fully alert on the road, especially during harvest season. With school buses and farm equipment on our roadways, it is imperative that we, as a community, are extra cautious and patient around this season to share the road in an effort to avoid a rear-end collision or hitting farm machine that is turning into a field or driveway.

Farm vehicles traveling less than 25 miles per hour are required by law to display a slow moving vehicle emblem, a red triangle, on the back of the vehicle so motorists can quickly identify the farm equipment and slow down. All lighting on the emblem should be working properly and highly visible. Those driving farm vehicles are also required to pull off to the right when three or more vehicles are blocked and cannot pass on the left.

A car that is driving 55 miles per hour comes upon a tractor that is driving 15 miles per hour only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field, so being extra cautious and alert on the road could help avoid a rear-end collision. Also be aware that machinery that is half on the road and half on the shoulder may suddenly move completely onto the road and may need to take up more than one lane of the roadway to avoid obstacles such as road signs.

It can be tempting to pass a piece of farm equipment due to their slow speed, but before you do, check to make sure that the driver is not turning left. Not all farm machinery is equipped with signals, so be on the lookout for any hand signals from the driver. If the machinery slows down and pulls towards the right side of the road, it is likely that the driver is preparing to make a wide left turn. Before passing, determine if the road is wide enough for you and the machinery to share and look out for any roadside obstacles like mailboxes, bridges or road signs, that would require the driver of the farm equipment to move to the center of the road and make sure there is adequate distance for you to pass before doing so.

Indiana’s farmers work hard to make sure that their harvests are cropped, feeding Hoosiers all across the state, so we want to do all we can to make sure they are unharmed in doing so. For more information regarding road safety during harvest season, you can visit getprepared.in.gov or contact my office at 317-232-9753 or h73@iga.in.gov