With agricultural activity increasing in western Pennsylvania and around the country this spring, Ernst Conservation Seeds urges motorists to take precautionary measures to prevent traffic collisions with agricultural equipment.
Collisions with farm equipment can be prevented with a dose of caution by operators of all types of vehicles. A recent article produced by the SMaRT project (Soybean Management and Research Technology) and published by Michigan State University Extension recommends a number of precautions.
Recommendations for motorists:
- Slow down immediately when you first see farm equipment ahead of you on the roadway. Farm equipment usually travels less than 25 miles per hour. It takes less than seven seconds for a car traveling at 55 mph to crash into the back of a tractor 400 feet away.
- Be patient and wait for an opportunity to safely pass farm equipment. The tractor or combine operator will probably be aware of your presence and will try to accommodate if possible as traffic begins to back up.
- Drive defensively when approaching on-coming farm equipment. Impatient motorists may pull out suddenly to pass the farm equipment and enter your lane.
- Be on the alert when you see amber flashing lights ahead in either lane.
- Be prepared to stop at railroad crossings when following a vehicle towing an anhydrous ammonia tank. Anhydrous ammonia tanks look like the large propane gas tanks used by rural homeowners.
Recommendations for farmers:
- Always mount a Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem to all tractors, combines and implements transported on public roads.
- Never use white lights on the rear of the tractor when driving on public roads. If you don’t have a rear red light, have an escort vehicle follow within 50 feet of the tractor or implement.
- Always use flashing amber warning lights on public roads.
- Check to see if traffic is backing up behind you and consider how to let traffic pass. Consider pulling over to the shoulder when it is safe for your vehicle.
- Use turn signals or proper hand signals to communicate your intentions to motorists.
Never travel left of the center of the road after dark, during poor visibility or when approaching the top of a hill or a curve.
- As with any driving conditions, common sense, concern for one’s own safety and the safety of others should always be at the center of all driving decisions and practices.
About Ernst Conservation Seeds
Founded in 1964, Ernst Conservation Seeds specializes in native and naturalized seeds and plant material of eastern North American ecotypes, cleaned and tested to USDA standards. Ernst supplies the highest quality seeds, mixes and bioengineering products for restoration, reclamation and conservation applications. Visit Ernst Conservation Seeds or call 814-336-2404 for more information.
Randy Ferguson, Director of Communications
Ernst Conservation Seeds