Harvest season is upon us.
With the arrival of fall comes a change in scenery; the trees begin to change colours, playoff baseball begins (go Jays) and farmers’ begin to harvest their crops. While driving on our local roads, we’re going to notice more tractors driving from field to field and to the different grain elevators around our community. This often means that you will find yourself stuck behind a slow moving farm vehicle, that may take up more space than a car or truck. To ensure your safety and the safety for our local farmers, please slow down, be patient and only pass when it is safe to do so. Farmers understand that your trip may be delayed and will pull onto the shoulder when they can safely do so.
Here are some safety tips for motorists this harvest season:
- Do not pass farm equipment unless there is a dotted line or within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad crossing or bridge
- Pass with caution if the farmer pulls onto the should to allow you to pass
- Do not pass if there are any curves or hills ahead that could impede your view of oncoming vehicles
- Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls onto the shoulder is going to let you pass. Large farm vehicles may have to make wide turns, so look for turn signals or hand signals before passing.
- Do not assume the farmer can see you or knows that you intend to pass.
- Do not tailgate, as it may distract the equipment operator.
Safety tips for farmers on rural roads:
- Farmers must have a slow moving vehicle sign if the tractor and other vehicles are incapable of sustaining speeds over 40 km/h.
- The slow moving vehicle sign must be visible from a minimum of 150 meters away (500 ft.).
- Ensure that you’re lights, flashers and signals all work properly
- Only move onto the road’s shoulder if it is safe to do so.
- Check to see if hitched equipment obscures lights or signage. As drivers behind you may not know if you are turning if your signals are obscured.
Remember, farmers have the same right to use the roads as other motorists and need to in order to get from field to field and to the different elevators in our community. Keep in mind being stuck behind farm equipment for 4 KM’s is the equivalent to waiting for two stop lights. You have time to wait and our local farmers have a job to do.