“If you’re driving on rural Kentucky roads this time of year, be on the lookout for slow-moving farm vehicles,” Commissioner Farmer said. “I also want to caution farmers to watch out for drivers who may top a hill or round a curve and not expect to see a farm vehicle on the road.”
Last year, there were 181 collisions involving farm tractors and/or farm equipment on Kentucky roads, of which 36 collisions resulted in one fatality and 55 injuries, according to the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety. Of the 181 collisions, 144 involved property damage.
It’s legal to drive farm machinery on public roads; sometimes it’s the only way farmers can get from field to field. The combination of slow-moving farm equipment, which may not have brake lights or turn signals, and faster motor vehicles reduces reaction time significantly. Driver distraction, such as talking on a cell phone, can make stopping without a crash almost impossible.
Commissioner Farmer offers these tips and reminders for people driving vehicles on rural roads:
• Slow down.
• Before attempting to pass a farm implement, be sure the driver is not about to turn left. Most collisions involving farm equipment and motor vehicles occur when the farm equipment operator slows down to turn left and the motorist attempts to pass. Look for field entrances where the operator could be turning.
• Make sure that you have enough time and distance to pass safely. It is illegal to pass farm equipment in no-passing zones. Also, some wide equipment may extend into the oncoming traffic lane.
• Don’t assume that the farm vehicle operator knows you are approaching. He or she may not be able to see behind the equipment. A vehicle that’s following too closely may not be visible in the farm vehicle’s mirrors. Keep your distance to ensure your car can be seen.