Home Indiana Agriculture News Time is Now for Heightened Safety Measures on Rural Roads

Time is Now for Heightened Safety Measures on Rural Roads

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Harvest is here so Hoosier Ag Today and the state of Indiana are once again encouraging rural road safety. In the new public service announcement YouTube video we quickly take you from spring planting to the harvest season now upon us. It’s something farmers anxiously await all season, and we all want it to be a successful, bountiful harvest. But most importantly, harvest must be safe for everyone, farmers and runners, cyclists and motorists.

This time of year is a favorite for Indiana’s Secretary of Agriculture, Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, and her safety message is a simple one.

“While traveling along our rural roads, I often come across tractors, grain wagons, and combines traveling between fields to harvest their crops. I want to encourage all motorists to slow down, be patient, and be on high alert for agriculture equipment on our roads this harvest season.”

One corn and soybean farmer earlier this year told HAT planting and harvest are the most stressful times for him, and that stress is very high simply because it’s the time when his big equipment is on the road, a road he needs to share with others.

Accidents can and do happen, but the Lt. Governor’s simple message, slow down, be patient, and be on high alert on rural roads, can mean a safe season if we all put those words into action.

More from the Indiana State Department of Agriculture:

Harvest season is here and for some that means visiting pumpkin patches and apple orchards, but we want to remind motorists that harvest season also means farmers will begin harvesting this year’s corn and soybean crops. That means more slow-moving agricultural equipment will be traveling on Indiana’s rural roads and highways. We want to remind everyone to stay alert and be courteous to ensure we all get home safely.

“Fall is one of my favorite seasons of the year, and I know for many others it’s their favorite, too. While traveling along our rural roads I often come across tractors, grain wagons and combines traveling between fields to harvest their crops,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “I want to encourage all motorists to slow down, be patient and be on high alert for agricultural equipment on our roads this harvest season.”

In 2019 in Indiana, farm equipment vehicles (other than trucks) were involved in three accidents, with one fatality, according to the National Highway Traffic Administration.

“Harvest season is a busy time for both farmers and motorists, I want to remind everyone to slow down and be courteous on our rural roads and highways,” said Bruce Kettler, director of the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. “Slow moving farm equipment typically travels at 25 miles per hour or less, so be sure to exercise caution when approaching.”

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.

The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

  • Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
  • Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
  • Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
  • Do not try to pass a slow-moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
  • Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

“Despite encouraging motorists and farmers alike to take extra precaution on roadways during harvest season, crashes still occur every year,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “One death is one too many. I want to remind everyone to remain alert and exercise caution as you travel on Indiana’s rural roads this fall.”

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.