Department of Agriculture shares tips to stay safe around farm equipment on roads during fall harvest

INDIANAPOLIS (Sept. 19, 2023) — Harvest season is officially underway for Indiana’s 94,000 farmers, which means more slow-moving farm equipment will be on Indiana’s rural roads and highways. To keep Hoosiers safe this year, state agencies are asking motorists to be alert and patient, as they share the road with farm equipment this fall.

“At least once each fall as I am traveling through rural Indiana, I find myself behind or crossing paths with large agricultural equipment,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch, Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture and Rural Development. “It is important to remain alert this fall and keep an eye out for these slow-moving farm vehicles, and if the opportunity allows, to safely navigate around them.”

In 2020 three vehicles were involved in crashes with farm equipment in Indiana which resulted in two deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“The fall harvest season is certainly an exciting and busy time for farmers and motorists,” said Don Lamb, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “By working together to practice alert driving, we can all make it home safely to our families each night.”

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.

The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

  • 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 alert. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
  • Be careful when passing. Do not pass 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 a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

“When you see farmers out working and moving from field to field, please be patient as they work to harvest their crops which are needed to help feed our communities and the world,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “Let’s all work together to help ensure everyone’s safety on our roadways.”

For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. Click here for a video public service announcement created by Hoosier Ag Today. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police.

About Brian Scott

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