GREENVILLE — With harvest season right around the corner, drivers should exercise caution while driving as there will be an increase of farm equipment on the roads.
“As we approach this harvest season it’s critical to be over cautious and probably assume that any time you see lights that look a little high or a little wide that it’s probably a piece of farm equipment moving at a slow speed,” said Samuel Custer, Darke County Ohio State University extension office extension educator for agriculture and natural resources. “Give them plenty of distance.”
Farm machinery travels much slower than normal traffic and can unexpectedly turn onto a public road from a field or driveway.
“Equipment, for the most part, is not going to be traveling faster then 25 miles per hour,” Custer said.
Custer said that it is important for drivers to remember that it is difficult for farm operators to see them behind them if they are hauling a large load.
“So as they approach equipment they need to be aware that if they can’t see the drivers eyes then probably the farmer is not going to be able to see them,” he said.
Drivers should know that farm equipment can be on the roads at any time, day or night.
“During the day time hours you may notice that it’s a piece of farm equipment long before you get there and that will allow you to slow down,” Custer said. “In the evening, a lot of times, farm equipment is lit up as what might look like a semi or a typical road operating vehicle so you’re approaching thinking ‘this guy is probably driving 55 miles per hour just like me’ but you get there very quickly and see that it’s a tractor or a combine and they’re only traveling 20 or 25 miles per hour.”
It is also important for farmers to be aware of other vehicles, make sure what they’re hauling is secured and that their equipment has proper lighting and that a slow moving vehicle emblem is mounted to the last piece of equipment being hauled.
“I think it’s important to point out that the farmers have the responsibility to make sure that their equipment is lit up appropriately with lighting so as car drivers come upon them it’s easier for them to see the width of equipment they’re pulling,” Custer said. “Farmers need to be just as cautious and aware and courteous to the car drivers too.”
According to OSU”s FactSheet, Ohio Revised Code requires a slow moving vehicle emblem, which is fluorescent orange, when moving “implements of husbandry” and farm machinery on public roadways. Implements of husbandry are vehicles designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural or livestock-raising operations.