Especially during planting and harvest seasons, more farm vehicles share roadways with other vehicles. That includes planters, sprayers, combines and other farm equipment moving from one field to another, and trucks and tractors transporting produce or farm supplies.
Sharing the road with motorists unfamiliar with large, slow-moving farm equipment makes for a very dangerous situation. According to the National Safety Council, accidents involving a farm vehicle are five times more likely to produce a fatality than any other type of motor vehicle accident.
Because the potential for accidents is high, Nationwide recommends you take the necessary precautions, including the preventative measures to common farm-vehicle accidents, to keep yourself and others safe.
Common-sense tips for avoiding farm-vehicle accidents:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Take it slow. Drive slowly, especially when making turns or driving down steep inclines. Lower speeds will help you avoid a rollover.
- Travel on less-busy roads. When possible, avoid highly-traveled roads, especially during times when traffic is heaviest.
- Keep passengers off of the equipment. Do not let passengers, especially children, ride anywhere on the vehicle except for inside the cabin.
- Know your state laws and regulations. Stay informed of the latest codes and requirements in your state, as well as recommendations from the American Society of Agricultural Engineers for equipment-like vehicle markers.
- Practice good maintenance. Always keep your vehicles and equipment well maintained and your farm equipment insurance and farm car insurance current.
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Contributed by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, which is endorsed by Ohio Farm Bureau. Special savings on insurance coverage are available to Ohio Farm Bureau members from Nationwide. Contact your local Nationwide agent, call 1-877-OnYourSide or visit nationwide.com/ofbf.