Indiana Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann and president of Indiana Farm Bureau Don Villwock have a message for motorists as harvest continues for Hoosier farmers. Be alert and ready to slow down when you encounter large farm equipment on the road, because 17 ½ feet wide is pretty standard for combines and tractors with dual wheels. Villwock says that takes up a large part of the road.
“Just a combine itself or a tractor pulling a grain cart down the road is almost over half the road, and it’s very difficult. I don’t think most motorists realize that farmers do their best to pull over whenever they can. Actually we’re required to pull over if we get over 3 cars behind us, but sometimes the ditch is right next to the edge of the road. There are mailboxes and driveway reflectors that we have to go around as well, so I think it’s really important for motorists to know and be aware that we may be going across the center lane just to go around some of those obstacles.”
And if you’re driving 55 on a county road coming up on a tractor ahead, you’ll get there quickly.
“The fastest a tractor or combine will go down the road is 25 miles an hour but in reality we’re usually probably going 15. Roads are rough and bumpy and it’s hard to go that fast with such big machinery.”
The most important element of road safety is keeping every person on the road safe, but Ellspermann adds farmers are trying to do their job for the Hoosier economy too.
“We’ll have 11 million acres harvested,” the Lt. Governor explained. “We’ll have almost $7 billion of value in corn and soybeans coming out of this state, so I think it is really important to bring attention to Hoosiers that this is the time of the year when so much work happens and we need to be patient. We need to put safety first and cut a little slack for our farmers who are doing their job. They are running that ag economy, that big ag economy in Indiana.
Villwock adds if you approach farm equipment trying to make a left hand turn give that farmer plenty of space and time to safely complete the turn. They both appeared on the Indiana State Police Road Show recently and you can see that video here: