Crops across the state are looking bountiful, and harvest is almost here.
Farmers will soon be traveling in large slow-moving farm equipment on Indiana roads.
To increase roadway safety, the Indiana State Department of Agriculture is encouraging motorists to exercise caution and patience when approaching large farm equipment over the next few months.
“When traveling across rural Indiana this fall, we want to encourage motorists to prepare for extra travel time and slow down when approaching large farm equipment,” Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said. “It is vital that all Hoosiers work together for a safe 2020 harvest season.”
According to the most recent data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2018, farm equipment vehicles were involved in 98 crashes across the United States with two farm equipment vehicles being involved in fatal crashes in Indiana.
Farm equipment must have the national designated slow-moving vehicle sign — a red triangle-shaped reflector — to warn approaching drivers that slow-moving equipment is on the roads. These vehicles often travel at speeds no higher than 25 mph.
Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products.
Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, reminds motorists and farmers to slow down, be patient and share the road this fall.
“Harvest season is quickly approaching, and Hoosier fields are looking really good,” Kettler said. “We want to encourage farmers and motorists alike to slow down, be patient and share the road.”
During harvest season, motorists are encouraged to leave 10 minutes early and to be aware of alternate routes. It’s important to watch for wide vehicles, especially when approaching hills and curves in the road.
When attempting to pass farm equipment, always look for oncoming traffic. Farmers will pull over for motorists when they are able to, but it may take some time to find a safe place to do so.
At all times, follow the rules of the road: Don’t tailgate farm equipment, pass only in designated passing zones and ensure you are following the hands-free driving law.
“As farmers begin to harvest this year’s crops, please remember to be courteous and cautious when meeting farm equipment on the roadways,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police superintendent. “By working together and sharing our roadways, we can ensure we all make it home safely.”
The following organizations will be working together to share these important safety tips during harvest season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police.