The Shelby County Farm Bureau would like to keep our community safe this fall. With harvest already underway, farming equipment, trucks, and other equipment are more prevalent on our roadways and we all need to be aware and keep safety in mind as we travel.
Here are some suggestions for travelers on our roadways this season.
• Slow down. Farm vehicles often travel at slow speeds. To reduce the risk of a collision, begin braking when you see the slow-moving vehicle emblem. Also, stay a safe distance back — around 50 feet.
• Pass carefully. Take the standard precautions: Wait for a safe passing zone, watch for oncoming traffic, signal and return to the lane once the vehicle is in your rearview mirror. If the vehicle is extra-wide, wait to pass until the driver pulls over and signals that it’s safe. Honk your horn beforehand in case the driver can’t see you.
• Yield. Give a wide farm vehicle the right-of-way when it’s traveling the opposite direction. Farm vehicles can’t always pull over to the road’s shoulder safely. If possible, pull onto the shoulder or into a turn-out to allow the farm vehicle to pass.
• Be patient. A driver may appear to be pulling to the right to let you pass when he or she is making a wide left-hand turn. Before speeding past, look for driveways, roads, or fields where the vehicle might be entering. Also, check for hand gestures or lights signaling the driver’s intention to turn. Know the basics. Following the speed limit and wearing your safety belt is just as important in the country as it is on city streets.
• Take a second look. Before you pull into an intersection or make a move to pass, be sure your path is clear in all directions. Tall crops can create “blind” corners, and farm vehicles could enter the roadway from unmarked access drives on the fields.
• Follow the rules. In general, farm vehicle operators must follow the same rules of the road as car drivers when they are on the road. Farm vehicles will have the right of way in a situation if a car would have had the right of way
• Eyes Up, Phone Down. Please put your devices down and stay focused on driving and minimize distractions while doing so.
From the agriculture perspective as you prepare for harvest keep these things in mind to keep your families.
• Make it routine to inspect all equipment and facilities for hazards, and then correct them without delay.
• Keep lights and reflectors clean on all equipment. Replace burned-out bulbs and lamps promptly.
• Make sure Slow Moving Vehicle emblems are clean, bright, and readily visible from the rear. Replace faded emblems.
• Be sure workers and family members are trained for the jobs they do.
• Keep machinery shields in place. Turn off the power before unclogging or attending to operating problems.
• If your tractor has a Roll-Over Protective Structure (ROPS), wear your safety belt to stay protected in an overturn. If it doesn’t have ROPS, ask your dealer if it can be fitted.
• Carry properly charged fire extinguishers on tractors and self-propelled equipment.
• Read and follow directions in operator’s manuals and on product labels.
• Take work breaks to fight fatigue and extend your energy.
Let’s all work together to have a safe harvest season. For more information call the Shelby County Farm Bureau at 877-775-7642.
The writer is the Ohio Farm Bureau’s organization director for Auglaize, Logan, Mercer and Shelby counties.