Harvest season is here; motorists remain alert to slow-moving equipment

INDIANA – Harvest season is here and farmers will be harvesting this year’s corn and soybean crops. That means more slow-moving agricultural equipment will be traveling on Indiana’s rural roads and highways. Motorists are reminded to stay alert and be courteous to ensure everyone gets home safely.

In 2019 in Indiana, farm equipment vehicles (other than trucks) were involved in three accidents, with one fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.

“Harvest season is a busy time for both farmers and motorists, I want to remind everyone to slow down and be courteous on our rural roads and highways,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Slow-moving farm equipment typically travels at 25 miles per hour or less, so be sure to exercise caution when approaching.”

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons, and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.

The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

  • Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists 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 road.
  • Be careful when passing. Do not pass 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 a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

“Despite encouraging motorists and farmers alike to take extra precaution on roadways during harvest season, crashes still occur every year,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “One death is one too many. I want to remind everyone to remain alert and exercise caution as you travel on Indiana’s rural roads this fall.”

For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag TodayIndiana Department of Homeland SecurityIndiana Department of Transportation, and Indiana State Police.

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