Department of Agriculture Warns of Harvest Traffic on Rural Roads

Thursday, September 22nd, 2022 10:40am

By Indiana State Department of Agriculture, news release

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products.

Shutterstock photo.

INDIANAPOLIS - Harvest season is here, and Lt. Gov. Suzanne CrouchIndiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) Director Bruce Kettler, Hoosier Ag Today and many other state agencies have teamed up to promote roadway safety this fall encouraging motorists to watch out and slow down for farm equipment on rural roads this harvest season. To kick off the campaign ISDA and Hoosier Ag Today created a Public Service Announcement to inform drivers of what to do when encountering farm equipment on roadways. 

Lt. Gov. Crouch, as Indiana's Secretary of Agriculture, is a staunch supporter of Hoosier farmers and wants to ensure everyone gets home to their families safely. 

“There is nothing more beautiful than rural Indiana in the fall,” said Lt. Gov. Crouch. “But, with that beauty comes heightened roadway dangers during harvest season. I am encouraging all Hoosiers to be alert and be patient on rural roads this harvest season.”

In 2020 three vehicles were involved in crashes with farm equipment in Indiana which resulted in two deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

“Rural road safety is something we all take very seriously. Each year Hoosiers lose their lives unnecessarily,” said Bruce Kettler, Indiana State Department of Agriculture director. “I want to continue to encourage roadway safety for motorists and for farmers. These accidents can be prevented if we all slow down and use caution around farm equipment this fall.”  

Farm equipment during harvest season could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.

The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:

  • Farmers will pull over when they are able to let motorists pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so.
  • Be patient. Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the road.
  • Be careful when passing. Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
  • Do not try to pass a slow-moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn. You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
  • Please be aware of farmers working near the road and semi trucks and trailers parked alongside rural roads. 
  • Avoid tailgating, as some farm equipment might have to make sudden stops along the road.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to a destination, be aware of alternate routes and avoid distractions.

“Despite encouraging motorists and farmers alike to take extra precaution on roadways during harvest season, crashes still occur every year,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “One death is one too many. I want to remind everyone to remain alert and exercise caution as you travel on Indiana’s rural roads this fall.”

For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. To view the full Public Service Announcement, click here. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag TodayIndiana Department of Homeland SecurityIndiana Department of Transportation and Indiana State Police.

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