Farms here in Indiana and across the country are in the midst of their harvest, working to beat the clock before winter arrives. Anyone driving through the countryside should remain vigilant and drive cautiously when coming across farm equipment on the road. At the same time, farmers who take to the roads on their tractors and sprayers should do the same. Cars and farm vehicles must respect each other while sharing the roads to prevent accidents. Yet accidents still happen on a regular basis.
Anyone who has operated or driven behind farm vehicles knows how slow travel can be. But what road users may not know is that farm vehicles aren’t able to brake quickly and have numerous blind spots. Farmers need to be aware of their surroundings and drive defensively to avoid colliding with other drivers. When operating particularly large pieces of equipment such as sprayers, farmers need to be wary of aggressive drivers who decide to drive under their wheels or pass when there’s oncoming traffic. To avoid a collision in these situations, equipment operators should slow down to create space.
Before making a turn while utilizing flashers on a farm vehicle, experts recommend turning them off briefly before switching on the turn signal. This is because drivers of other vehicles may be entranced by the flashing lights and may not recognize the switch in time to slow down and prevent a collision.
Other common driving hazards affect both farmers and other motorists. One issue is fatigued driving. Whether it’s early morning or after a long day of work, drivers should plan their day around traveling on the road. Fatigued driving affects a driver’s ability to react to situations on the road and increases the likelihood of an accident. For farmers especially, it’s more important to avoid damaging farm equipment and risk not being able to work at all than attempt to squeeze a bit more work into the day.
As always, avoid distractions and driving under the influence. It may be tempting to use a phone while operating a slow-moving vehicle. But it is very important for drivers to pay constant attention to their surroundings. It is equally important to not allow anyone to operate farm equipment if they appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
If you’re involved in an accident with or while operating farm equipment, seek immediate medical attention and call the police. Your next step should be to contact us. With offices in Fort Wayne and South Bend, we serve accident victims throughout Indiana.