Farm Safety share the roadWith temperatures finally on the rise, more farmers will be out in their fields, which means slow-moving farm equipment will soon be on Indiana roadways.

With this in mind, several state agencies – including the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) – are partnering to encourage Hoosiers to be alert, slow down and share the road with farm equipment.

“As planting season begins, INDOT urges motorists to slow down, avoid distractions and be alert for slow moving farm equipment on highways that travel through Indiana’s farming communities,” said INDOT Commissioner Joe McGuinness. “Remember to be patient and share the road so that Hoosier farmers, INDOT crews, construction and utility workers, emergency responders and you stay safe.”

By law, farm equipment must have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign (a red, triangle-shaped reflector) to warn drivers that their equipment is on the road. These vehicles often travel at speeds no higher than 25 mph.

“Due to the size of our equipment, people will often see us before we see them,” said Zach Cain, a Montgomery County farmer. “It’s important to be patient. Farmers don’t want to hold up traffic, but it can take us some time to find a safe spot to pull over.”

Agencies participating in this effort to encourage motorists to be cautious this planting season include INDOT, the Governor’s office, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana State Police, the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

Collectively, they offer the following tips:

  • Most 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 roadway. Be careful when passing.
  • Do not pass if you are 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 your destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.
  • Pay special attention to stationary farm equipment on the side of the road as there might be farmers working nearby.