With fall and the busy harvest season in full swing, it’s high time to focus on farm safety.
National Farm Safety and Health Week is designed to raise awareness and advance the safety and well-being of hardworking farmers and ranchers. This time of year, sharing the roadways with various forms of farm equipment is not out of the ordinary. And America’s rural roadways are often not equipped for accelerated speeds, which can present several safety hazards—especially those in a hurry.
Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind to help prevent incidents on rural roadways and allow everyone to make it home safely.
Be Prepared: Knowing this time of year may require sharing the road, account for extra time on the road.
Be Patient: Both drivers and the equipment operator have somewhere to be, so always practice patience and use caution when approaching farm equipment.
Be Courteous: Some county roads may be too narrow to pass each other if coming from opposite directions. If possible, carefully pull over to the shoulder and allow the farm equipment to pass safely.
Get Their Attention: Use eye contact, flash your lights or use your horn to communicate with equipment operators. This will make them aware you are allowing them to safely pass on a narrow roadway. Also, communicate with vehicles behind you by using your brake lights and keeping a safe distance from any vehicle in front of you.
Don’t Assume: Always be alert, pay attention and be ready to react. Never assume you are visible to the operator and they will pull over for you. Keep in mind operators can't see anything unless visible in the equipment’s mirrors. Watch for hand signals from the operator to recognize their intention to turn or pull over. Always look ahead for oncoming traffic—especially around a crest of a hill or tight curve.
This article was adapted for Horizon Farm Credit's use from the Progressive Agriculture Foundation® (PAF), a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, with the mission to provide education, training and resources to make farm, ranch and rural life safer and healthier for all children and their communities. Recognized as the largest rural safety and health education program for children in North America, the Foundation’s Progressive Agriculture Safety Day® program has reached more than 1.8 million youth – and counting – since the program’s inception in 1995. Some of the content and information used within this piece also came from the National Ag Safety Database.