Fall 2012 Harvest Time — 3
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Motorists, farmers need to watch out for each other
BY LINDSAY MCCOYTimes Bulletin News Writerlmccoy@timesbulletin.com
With the harvest season for corn and beans in Ohio beginningat the end of September for farmers, it is important that driverstake extra safety while sharing the road with large farm equip-ment. During National Farm Safety and Health Week which isheld each year from Sept. 19-25, officials are eager to share extratips for road safety.According to Purdue University’sarticle on harvest time safety, farm-ers are encouraged to be good citi-zens by making sure their equipmenthas working lights including bothfront, back, and turn signals, and arealso encouraged to travel with a slowmoving vehicle sign (red trianglewith orange edges). Any vehicle thatmoves slower than 25 miles per houris required by law to travel with oneof these signs. Traveling with flash-ing hazard lights also helps to makethese vehicles extra noticeable to on-coming traffic.“Fall is a very busy time in the agricultural community,” saidScott Eickholt, farmer of Eickholt Farms in Van Wert. “There area lot of farmers trying to perform a variety of tasks promptly andsafely. Equipment is so large that it does sometimes affect theflow of traffic, but if people can remain patient most farmers willpull off and let them pass as quickly as possible. It can be moredifficult to get over than people may realize because a farmer isconstantly watching for mailboxes and also making sure the roadditch isn’t too steep for the equipment.”While following a slow moving vehicle such as a combine,large tractor, or even a pickup pulling a grain bin, drivers on theroad also need to take extra caution. Drivers should follow thesevehicles at a safe distance as they often make frequent stopsupon reaching their fields. Only pass when the path is clear andsafe. Farmers will often drive on theshoulder of the road to give driversextra room, but it is still important toslow down while passing and watchfor narrow two-lane roads.Tractors and other farm equipmentonly make up a small total of mo-tor vehicle accidents nationally, butfatal motor vehicle collisions withfarm equipment is nearly five timeshigher than those of other vehicles.In these accidents, the farm vehicledriver was killed nearly twice as of-ten as the driver of the other vehicle.The most frequent type of single-vehicle accidents is a farm tractor being driven to close to theshoulder of the road and rolling into a ditch. So while many farm-ers try to be courteous and make more room for drivers, theymust also remember their own safety as well.The most common types of farm equipment collisions typi-cally come from left-turn and rear-end collisions. Left-turn colli-sions happen when a driver attempts to pass farm equipment andfails to realize the machinery is about to make a wide left-turn.Rear-end collisions occur when a driver cannot slow down intime and collides with the slow moving ag vehicle. The extremedifference in travel speed between slow moving farm equip-ment and regular speed oncoming vehicles often does not leave adriver with enough time to slow down before reaching the farmvehicle. A driver should begin to slow down as soon as they seea slow moving vehicle sign, just as they would if they saw a stopsign ahead to ensure enough time to reduce speed.Overall, visibility is the key to being safe while driving dur-ing harvest season. Be seen and be safe. It is also important to bepatient and not get upset if equipment does not move out of theway immediately.“As a representative of Eickholt Farms and the agriculturalcommunity, I want to thank everyone for their patience with largeequipment and let’s have a safe traveling fall,” said Eickholt.