Harvest season is in full swing in Pontotoc County.  Farmers are working long hours to get the crops out of their fields. Drivers should be aware that there will be more agriculture equipment using Pontotoc County roadways during the next few weeks. 

Accidents between motorists and farm equipment can be deadly for drivers and farmers.  This article will focus on steps that can be taken to prevent collisions involving automobiles and farm equipment. The sources for this article are the Mississippi State University Extension Service publication, “Fall Driving Requires Extra Caution for Farm Vehicles” and the Farm Bureau Financial Services publication, “Share the Road”. 

Farmers should avoid high traffic times, busy roads, and only move equipment during daylight hours.  All farm equipment using public roads should have flashing lights, reflective tape, and an orange slow moving vehicle triangle.  Escort vehicles can also be used during periods of high traffic. Turn signals and wide mirrors should be installed on tractors to help avoid collisions with passing vehicles.

To prevent accidents with farm machinery motorists should be alert, patient, obey all traffic laws, and be prepared for unexpected occurrences. 

Be Alert

Drivers should be on the lookout for farm machinery during harvest season. When a driver sees an orange slow moving vehicle triangle or flashing lights, they should immediately slow down.   

Many accidents with cars and farm machines occur when distracted drivers fail to see the equipment in time. There is no shortage of distraction sources for motorists.  Phone calls, text messages, and social media updates should not be allowed to take a driver’s attention from the road. 

There is very little margin for error when cars and tractors share roadways. It only takes around five seconds for a vehicle traveling at 55 miles per hour to catch up with a moving tractor or combine. 

Be Patient

Motorists should exercise patience when farm machinery is visible. The farmers in Pontotoc County are working hard to provide food and fiber for each of us.  Their goal is not to be an inconvenience.  Motorists should reduce the need to be in a rush by leaving in plenty of time to reach their destination. 

Obey Traffic Laws

Motorists should always obey all traffic laws especially when farm machinery will be sharing the road. The risk of serious accidents is reduced when drivers follow traffic laws concerning the use of seat belts, observance of speed limits, and passing other vehicles. Drivers should never pass when their view of oncoming traffic is blocked by hills, curves, or by the farm equipment.

 

Expect the Unexpected

There is no shortage of potential hazards that can occur when encountering farm machinery on Mississippi roads. Drivers should always follow a safe distance behind farm equipment.

Obstacles including bridges, mailboxes, and signs may cause farm machinery to slow and swerve suddenly. Drivers should also be aware that multiple pieces of farm equipment often travel together.  This could lead to accidents as the motorists begin to pass the farm machinery.  Drivers should always remember that if the mirrors on the machines are not visible the farmer can’t see them.    

It is important for farmers and motorists to cooperate to limit roadway accidents.  Please give the farmers in Pontotoc County a “brake” this harvest season

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