As we are in the midst of small grain harvest, spraying and hay baling time here in Bosque County, it is important to stay aware of moving farm equipment. We have all been stuck behind a tractor, combine or other farm equipment while driving down the road, more often than not, traveling at speeds well under the posted speed limit. This can be frustrating to us as a motorist. Just this past weekend, I got in a lengthy line of traffic following two combines and headers being driven down a busy highway traveling 25 miles an hour. The motorist ahead of me were making the conditions unsafe for all of us by passing in no passing zone, passing with oncoming traffic approaching, and pushing on the farm equipment to the point the farm equipment operators were having difficulty staying on the roadways. This was dangerous for everyone on the road.
As a motorist, keep in mind that transporting agriculture machinery from one field to another by way of public roads is a necessity, especially with farm land often being separated by many miles. So there are things that both the agriculturist and the motorist need to keep in mind so everyone is safe on the roads.
Agriculturalists need to have skilled drivers who will be cognizant of their surroundings and the road’s conditions. There should be clearly marked ‘slow moving’ signs posted on the equipment. Windshields and lights should be cleaned and working properly. Also, make certain safety chains and tow bars are secure.
The same precaution goes to the motorist. Motorist, slow down; be sure to watch for slow moving vehicles and equipment. It is easy to miscalculate how fast you are approaching slower moving farm machinery. Realize they are likely going as fast as they are able to and you can’t force them to go faster. Also, be cautious of the distance when following agriculture equipment, do not follow too closely. Follow passing zone descriptions on the roadways and do not try to pass anything in a no passing zone, in a turning lane, or with oncoming traffic coming towards you. Safety for the motorist and the agriculturalist is the highest priority. It’s better to be late than to not arrive at all.