Drive with reason; It’s farming season!

Harvest season is busy… busy in the fields, at the farms and on the ROADS in between.

Here are some safety tips I am borrowing and expanding from OSU Extension about traveling on rural roads:

 1. Be watchful! It is so easy to be distracted by our thoughts, our phones, or our families. 


  • Farm trucks and equipment may be exiting or entering the roadways from places you don’t expect to see traffic.
  • Watch for deer and other wildlife as they may be on the move more due to the harvest activities and fall weather.
  • Drive with your LIGHTS ON. Be visible and stay safe!

2. Take note of Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) signs!

  • It takes less than SEVEN seconds for a car traveling at 55 mph to crash into the back of a tractor 400 feet away. 

3. Don’t rush to pull out in front of equipment! 

  • Heavy trucks and combines cannot stop as quickly as your passenger vehicle.
  • SMV = Slow Moving Vehicle. 
  • Slow to go, slow to stop

4. Give them room.

  • Much of the equipment needed to grow and harvest our food is big and wide and just doesn’t fit on the narrow rural roads.
  • There are MANY obstacles along the roadsides: mailboxes, guardrails, culverts and trash. 
  • Don’t expect that just because they see you that they can get over and avoid you.

5. Be KIND, stay Behind!

  • 2 miles behind a farmer on the road is equivalent to 2 red lights; not nearly as long as it seems!
  • DO NOT assume that equipment getting over to the right is for you to pass! 
  • They may be swinging wide to TURN LEFT.
  • They may be avoiding obstacles or oncoming traffic.

There are also things FARMERS can do to help on the roads and to stay safe throughout harvest, because we want you farming and feeding us for a long time to come! Watch here for more tips and issues or visit these links for more information now.

Sharing Rural Roads Safely (farmer tips)

Fall harvest Safety Tips

Ohio SMV Regulations

For more information on tractor and equipment requirements visit: or

 And, as always, visit OSU Extension or our partner, Nationwide.



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