Harvest season is in full swing across New York State and farmers are in and out of the fields trying to get their crops harvested before winter temperatures arrive and frost sets in. With work to be done in the fields and limited hours of daylight, farmers will be seen on the roads more and more throughout the day trying to safely get from the farm to the field and back again. During this busy season, we want to encourage everyone to be safe, stay alert and to slow down especially when sharing the rural roads with large farm equipment.
When approaching farm equipment on the road, here are some tips to remember:
1. Be aware. It is not safe or legal to pass a moving vehicle in a no passing zone or on a double solid yellow line. We will pull over when we can and when it’s safe to do so.
2. Be patient. Our equipment is big so you will probably see us before we see you so tailgating is not safe for you or the farmer. And remember that following a tractor for two miles in the country is the equivalent of sitting at only two stop lights.
3. Be alert. Large equipment also requires wider angles to turn. So while turning signals indicate which direction we may be headed, please give us plenty of room.
4. Be thankful. Allow a few extra minutes in the morning if you know you’re going to be traveling near farm fields and be thankful that we are working to provide healthy food to your table.
5. Be kind. Give us a wave. When it is safe to pass or you see us pull into the field, give us a wave because we are just trying to do our job.
Farm equipment should have a slow-moving vehicle sign – an orange triangle-shaped reflector – to warn drivers that their vehicles will be driving slower than the average car on the road. Farmers are always trying to do the right thing but it takes time to get from here to there. They are working long hours and this year they have been up against Mother Nature to try and get the crops harvested at the most opportune time to ensure their cows have high-quality feed to eat in the coming year. So the next time you see a tractor on the road, remember that the driver you see is someone’s father or mother, husband or wife, uncle, son or daughter and they want to get home safely just like you do.