There’s nothing like a summer drive on an open country road. This time of year, however, those country roads are likely to be a little less open, as gigantic farm equipment rumbles down the road seemingly at a snail’s pace. Encountering farm equipment on the road is potentially a dangerous situation — here are some tips for safely sharing the road with farm equipment.
Remaining alert while driving is extremely important during planting and harvesting season. If you see farm equipment up ahead, slow down immediately. Typically, these vehicles travel at about 20 miles per hour, so if you’re going 60, you have about six seconds to brake before rear-ending a mass of metal one football field away. Scan for orange, triangular slow-moving vehicle signs, and make note of any parts that protrude behind the equipment.
Pass with Caution
Farm equipment is heavy and difficult to maneuver. Give operators at least 50 feet of space behind, and generous space if you pass. Consider a friendly honk beforehand to alert the operator of your presence, since the noise and complexity of hauling such equipment may mean they haven’t noticed you behind them.
Need to Know
Be sure to watch for turns. If the vehicle is veering in one direction, it may be preparing to turn the other direction ahead. Watch for pilot cars, a sure sign that an oversize vehicle is coming your way. If you see them, consider turning around and rethinking your route.
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