Motorists urged to be on the lookout for farm equipment on the move

Published 12:13 am Sunday, July 1, 2018

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is urging motorists to be alert for farm equipment on the move along highways across the region.

In 2017, there were 189 farm tractor-related crashes in Kentucky. There were 40 injury crashes and 6 farm tractor-related fatal crashes on Kentucky highways in 2017.

After planting delays due to weather conditions and flooding, area farmers are working long hours in an effort to get their crops in the ground. With the shortened planting season, farmers are on the move traveling from field to field with a heightened sense of urgency.

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Many crashes involving farm equipment occur when motorists attempt to pass slow-moving equipment and misjudge the speed of oncoming traffic, or are unaware that farm equipment is preparing to make a turn into a field or side road. Motorists are asked to practice patience whenever they encounter tractors and other farm equipment on the move along area highways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), farm equipment vehicles (excluding farm trucks) were involved in 87 fatal crashes across the U.S., in 2017. While farm tractors and other self-propelled farm equipment number less than .05 percent of all motor vehicles on the road nationally, NHTSA found the percentage of fatal motor vehicle incidents involving farm equipment is almost five times higher than other vehicles on the highway.

Warmer temperatures mean more farmers will be out in the fields and on the road moving between fields. All drivers need to be alert, slow down, and share the road with farm equipment.

Farming equipment travels at speeds no higher than 25 mph. In some cases, multiple pieces of equipment being towed by a tractor may require even slower speeds for the tractor operator to maintain control while moving along area highways. NHTSA reminds motorists to remember to be careful when passing. Avoid in a “No Passing Zone,” and avoid tailgating, as farm equipment might have to make abrupt stops along the road or slow to make a turn.

For their part, farmers are reminded to provide proper escort for large farm equipment, and to maintain flashing lights on all equipment that has to be moved along highways. Farmers are also asked to pull over from time to time when the opportunity arises to allow backed up traffic to pass safely. This reduces the likelihood that motorists will become impatient and try to pass farm equipment in no passing zones.

Remember to share the road responsibly.