While working with farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses for over 100 years, Nationwide is taking a stand to increase awareness of the dangers and risks of navigating large farm equipment on rural roads. Central to this effort is ruralroadsafety.com, a new website dedicated to providing case studies, tools and other resources to assist America’s hardworking farmers in making balanced decisions before pulling onto the road and smart choices when navigating traffic and other obstacles. Here are a few commonsense tips to help you avoid farm-vehicle accidents:
1. Clearly mark your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle and equipment are well marked with reflective tape, lights or flags, particularly if your equipment is oversized or extends beyond one lane of traffic.
2. Use your lights. Keep headlights, reflectors and turn signals clear of any dirt or debris that may have accumulated during work, and always use turn signals when turning and changing lanes.
Consider installing magnetic, battery-operated lights that can be purchased relatively cheaply.
3. Install proper signage. Properly install slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems so motorists around you are aware of the difference in speed between your vehicle and theirs.
4. Watch your mirrors. Always use rearview and side mirrors so you know your position on the roadway, as well as that of other motorists. The mirrors will help make you aware of your vehicle’s distance from the shoulder.
5. Secure your load. Equipment that is being towed must be secured and properly balanced. Double check that safety-hitch pins are securely fastened before getting on the road.
6. Take it slow. Drive slowly, especially when making turns or driving down steep inclines. Lower speeds will help you avoid a rollover.
7. Travel on less-busy roads. When possible, avoid highly traveled roads, especially during times when traffic is heaviest.
8. Keep passengers off the equipment. Do not let passengers, especially children, ride anywhere on the vehicle except for inside the cabin.
9. Know the state laws and regulations. Stay informed of the latest codes and requirements, as well as recommendations from the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers for equipment like vehicle markers.
10. Practice good maintenance. Always keep your vehicles and equipment well maintained and your farm equipment insurance and farm car insurance current.
Today, Nationwide is the No. 1 farm insurer in the country and a leader in insurance and risk management solutions for commercial agribusinesses in the food, fiber and fuel chains.