With harvest season officially underway, motorists should expect to see more slow-moving farm equipment from Indiana’s 57,700 farming operations on Hoosier roadways. Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA), Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS), Indiana State Police (ISP), and Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) are teaming up for the Be Alert, Slow Down, Share the Road campaign to bring attention to the need for more safety on Indiana’s rural roads.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, farm equipment vehicles (excluding trucks) were involved in 87 fatal crashes across the U.S. In addition, a survey conducted by the Census Bureau claims that while less than 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas, more than half of all traffic fatalities nationwide occurred in those parts.
The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:
- Be alert. The red triangle on the back of an implement, farm machinery or other vehicle indicates a slow-moving vehicle (under 25 mph).
- Be patient. Most farmers will pull over when they are able to let you pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
- Share the road. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway. Be careful and slow down when passing.
- It only takes five seconds for a motorist driving 55 mph to close a gap the length of a football field when approaching a tractor moving at 15 mph. Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
- 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.
- 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.
This harvest season we are asking all motorists to be alert, slow down and share the road with our Hoosier farmers, especially in rural areas. Our goal is to reach every Hoosier with this important safety message in an effort to protect farmers and drivers across the state.