With the summer season drawing to a close, and the unfortunate state mother nature has left the fields in, farmers are hustling to harvest their investments off the field and put the crop into their bins. There will be an increase of machinery on the roads, both rural and Highway, so it’s best to be aware as we all share the road.
- Don’t Rush – Plan ahead to account for the delay that a slow-moving vehicle may cause when encountered. Please don’t speed past farm machinery.
- Pass With Care – In the event that a farmer has moved to the left to allow for passing or you need to do so consider the risk that the pass will take. Never pass on a hill, curves, or in any situation that would block your view of oncoming vehicles. Most times the farmer could also be towing something behind that may or may not be visible when approaching. I.e. baler, rake, a trailer hauling bales. Make sure to make eye contact with the driver so there is an awareness of the situation at hand.
- Be Patient – Remind yourself that you both have a destination in mind and the farmer is not intentionally slowing you down.
- SMV - The orange triangular Slow Moving Vehicle emblem warns drivers of a slow vehicle usually traveling speed of 40km/hour or less. When you see the triangle start to slow down. These pieces of Safety Tips When Encountering Farming Equipment Watch for Farm Machinery equipment cannot stop as quickly as your vehicle can. Some farm machinery may not display the triangle so it is important to keep in mind that all farm machinery travels slowly.
- Watch for flashing lights- Most farm equipment has lights on the top of the machinery.
- Remain Visible – Never assume a farmer knows you are near their machinery. They are often concentrating on other tasks at hand such as keeping equipment on the road. Proceed with caution as the farmer may not be able to hear you over their equipment. Again, make sure to take the time to make visual contact with the operator.
- Yield To Wide Vehicles – Some farm vehicles such as combines may be wider than the road they are traveling down. If you approach wide equipment it might be a good plan to find an approach to allow the equipment to pass. In most cases, the machinery cannot move into the roadside for fear of causing harm to themselves or the equipment.
Defensive driving will and can play a crucial role in keeping not only yourself safe, but as well as the person behind the wheel of another vehicle. When driving down a rural road during harvest time, keep in the back of your mind the potential of meeting a larger piece of machinery. Drive the appropriate speed limit, and stick to your side of the road, especially during curves and hills. Be cautious and courteous as we all share the motorways and have a safe autumn season from the MD of Lesser Slave River Agricultural Service Board.