The following information is provided by Nationwide, the #1 farm and ranch writer in the U.S.*
Safely navigating large agricultural equipment over rural roads to and from the fields is a challenge for even the best drivers. Nationwide reminds farmers to consider the following rules on the safe operation of equipment to help reduce the risk of motor vehicle collisions.
Courts uphold agricultural equipment operator rights for road usage, and regulations for size and type usually don’t apply. But still take necessary precautions to prevent serious injury and damage and ensure that your equipment isn’t in violation. You know accidents can happen any time of day, but remember:
- Working after dark: Turn on lights, use reflectors or conspicuity tape, display SMV (slow-moving vehicle) sign, consider escort vehicles
- Trailer pulling: Don’t rely on power unit lights only; this increases collision risk if lights become obstructed
- “Road rules”: Operators must understand driving hazards; regulations include specific training for equipment operation and environment navigation
Operators tend to pull to the right when making wide left turns. Motorists may view this as permission to pass. To prevent accidents:
- Use turn signals or hand/arm signals
- Check oncoming traffic
- Check mirrors and blind spots
Before crossing rural bridges:
- Ensure appropriate vehicle weight
- Allow oncoming traffic to clear the bridge (reduces weight on bridge and provides you space to maneuver)
- If tires have large lugs for traction, be cautious of guardrail contact that could inadvertently cause equipment to climb the rail or tip off the bridge
When driving a slow-moving vehicle, never wave a driver to pass. It’s the passing driver’s responsibility to pass – not yours. Also:
- Don’t drive on the shoulder; you may sideswipe a passing vehicle if you have to swerve to avoid an oncoming mailbox or obstruction
- Drive with the left side of your vehicle to the centerline, even if your equipment extends onto the shoulder; passing drivers should consider safety and the law before passing
Rural road travelers can easily be surprised by a large, slow-moving vehicle — and misjudge their speed and gap distance. To avoid rear-end collisions:
- Monitor mirrors for fast-approaching vehicles
- Ensure that the vehicle’s warning devices, such as SMV signs, are visible
- Consider vehicle escorts on heavily traveled paved roads
For more farm safety tips, contact your local Nationwide farm agent or visit mynsightonline.com.
*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2019. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.© 2021 Nationwide.