It is fall harvest season in the Midwest, and drivers in rural parts of Indiana are encountering an increasing number of large farm implements moving down roads and highways. Farmers are often heading to or from work, just like you, and simply cannot drive faster than what is safe. They must follow certain speed regulations, and tractors pulling large implements have limited maneuverability. They need extra space and cannot perform tight turns.
Farm workers also need to drive their vehicles with extra care and consideration for other drivers. During harvest season, farmers are typically working longer hours, which can lead to frustration or even inattention. A lapse in judgment by either a farmer or another driver can lead to disaster when heavy equipment is involved. Law enforcement will step up its efforts during this busy season to ensure that drivers are following the rules of the road and exercising caution.
All drivers of both farm equipment and cars need to cooperate to keep Indiana roads safe. Everyone must be prepared to slow down and accommodate the needs of larger vehicles on the road.
Tips for Safe Driving During Harvest Season
If you’re used to driving in a city like Indianapolis, it’s a good idea to learn ahead of time how to maneuver around farm vehicles before you head out onto rural roads. Here are some important things to keep in mind, according to the Indiana State Police:
- Be patient. Farm vehicles must drive slowly, usually at less than 25 mph. You’ll know because these vehicles are required to display a slow-moving vehicle sticker (a red triangle reflector) on the back. Share the road and do not tailgate, otherwise you’re risking a rear-end collision with a very heavy vehicle.
- When it is safe to do, farm vehicles should pull over to allow traffic to pass, especially when there is a buildup of cars behind them. As a driver, you should wait for the farm vehicle to pull over unless you are absolutely sure it is safe to pass.
- Before passing, make sure the road is wide enough and that you have enough available distance to pass.
When passing slow farm vehicles, take note of the surroundings. Make sure that there are no obstacles on the side of the road (such as mailboxes or road signs) that might cause the farm vehicle to move out toward the center of the road.
- Be aware that although farm vehicles sometimes drive partly on the shoulder and partly on the road, you shouldn’t take that “extra” road space for granted. The vehicle may need to pull out into the road at any time.
- Watch out for a farm vehicle’s turn signals, especially for left turns.These large vehicles must slow down dramatically and make wide turns, so be attentive and prepared. If the vehicle looks like it is pulling out to the left, it may not be pulling over to the side of the road, but rather, preparing to turn. Do not try to pass while the vehicle’s left turn signal is on.
- Indiana State Police: Harvest Season Driving Tips
- WBIW: Indiana State Agencies Partner For Road Safety Message Ahead Of Harvest Season