The Kansas Highway Patrol offered tips to help motorists stay safe with harvest and hay season underway.
There are more farm trucks, tractors, combines, and other implements on the road during harvest time. Statewide statistics for 2017 report 118 crashes involving farm equipment, resulting in three deaths and 41 people injured. This year has already seen 23 farm-equipment-related collisions, resulting in nine people injured.
“As the busy farming season is underway, each traveler in Kansas needs to be more aware of increased farm implement and truck traffic. In Kansas we have many trucks exiting and entering the roadways at any given time. Traveling around these vehicles requires extra caution,” said Lieutenant Adam Winters, KHP Public Information Officer.
KHP reminds motorists to use caution and be patient around farm vehicles as most farm equipment is not designed to travel at highway speeds and are limited to 15 to 25 miles per hour. Whenever Folding Power Harrows or other farm equipment are noticed on the road, it is crucial that extra care is taken as these pieces of equipment are designed to operate on a field of land, not on the roads. Farm equipment can also be wider than the lane of traffic, so extra room should be allowed when sharing the road. KHP also advises extra caution on busy rural roads with unmarked intersections.
Other tips from KHP to keep in mind:
- Don’t assume the farmer knows you are there. Farming implements can be loud, preventing the driver from realizing a motorist is behind them.
- Pass with extreme caution. Only pass if you can clearly see ahead of both your vehicle and the farming implement. If your line of sight is obscured, wait until you have a clear view.
- A farm vehicle pulling to the right is not necessarily an invitation to pass. Some implements take very wide left turns due to their size, so give farm vehicles plenty of time and room to turn.
- Be patient. Don’t assume a farmer can move aside for you to pass. Not all shoulders can support the weight of farming implements. They will move aside as soon as they are sure it is safe for their vehicle.
- Think of the slow-moving vehicle emblem as a warning to adjust your speed. Immediately slow down when you see the emblem. It can be difficult to gauge the speed you are approaching a vehicle, especially at night.
- Lastly, pay attention. You increase your chances of an accident when you are not focused solely on the road. Especially if you should come upon a slow-moving vehicle.