With planting season underway for most farmers, the state wants to remind every motorist to be on the lookout for slow-moving farm equipment on Indiana’s rural roads. Over the next couple of months, Hoosiers are encouraged to exercise caution and patience, as they share the road with these large vehicles.
“Our top priority every planting season is to ensure the safety of every farmer and motorist in Indiana,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “Knowing how to best navigate these conditions is imperative, which is why we are asking all motorists to be courteous, slow down and share the road.”
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, farm vehicles were involved in 73 fatal crashes across the U.S. in 2017, with seven of those incidents occurring in Indiana.
While the term “farm equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common types motorists will encounter during planting season include sprayers, tractors pulling planters and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.
“Whether you’re driving to work or visiting family, give yourself plenty of time,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “Leaving 10 minutes early helps to, not only reduce stress, but also make sure that everyone reaches their destination safely and in a timely manner.”
Most farmers will pull over for motorists when they are able to, but it may take them some time to find a safe place to do so. It’s important to be patient and cautious when passing. Likewise, when attempting to pass on the left, make sure the farm vehicle is actually pulling over and not making a left turn. Be aware of alternate routes, and always look for oncoming traffic.
Above all, follow all of the rules of the road: don’t text and drive, don’t tailgate farm vehicles and pass only in designated passing zones.
“Springtime in Indiana means crisp cool mornings and farm machinery of all sizes crossing county and state roads as they move from field to field,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter. “It’s important for everyone’s safety – farmer and motorist – to be attentive when driving in rural Indiana during the active planting season.”
For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police.