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Ag Notes, March 13

Farm equipment and roadway safety

With spring rapidly approaching, farm work will get under way in earnest and that often means moving equipment along Kentucky’s roadways. Collisions on public roadways involving farm machinery take place each year especially during the busy spring planting and fall harvest times. Thus, people driving farm machinery and motor vehicles need to be especially careful and watchful in the days ahead.

Farmers should remember that many people don’t realize tractors and other agricultural machinery often can’t travel faster than 25 miles per hour. Also, these farm vehicles have limited maneuverability. 

To help other motorists see farm machinery on the roadways, keep slow moving vehicle emblems and extremity markings clean and bright. Replace weather-faded SMV emblems. Make sure headlights, taillights and flashing lights are in proper working order.

Inspect the reflectors or reflective tape on the front and rear extremities of towed equipment. Use amber or yellow on the front, and red on the rear. It’s especially important to use front reflectors or tape when the edges of towed equipment extend beyond the left side of the tractor to alert oncoming traffic of the protruding equipment.

When driving farm machinery, remember to keep mirrors clean and be sure they’re properly adjusted for each driver. Use these mirrors to watch for approaching motorists. Many farmers will pull completely off the road when possible to let the line of traffic behind pass.

It’s often hard for drivers to anticipate the operational intentions of farm machinery being driven on roadways. Remember, tractors towing long-trailing or wide machines might need to move to the right to complete a left turn. Thus, be aware of unmarked field entrances or other places the driver might be planning to turn into. Don’t assume the farm equipment drivers are waiting for you to pass just because they move to the right. Only pass in a designated passing zone, or when the other driver signals and pulls completely off the road.

For more information, contact your Boyle County Cooperative Extension Service.

Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of economic or social status and will not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnic origin, national origin, creed, religion, political belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, pregnancy, marital status, genetic information, age, veteran status, or physical or mental disability.  University of Kentucky, Kentucky State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and Kentucky Counties, Cooperating.

Jerry Little, County Extension Agent for Agriculture/Natural Resources