Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvest Time Driving Safety


It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, and farmers are starting to harvest their crops. This increase in large equipment on roadways, leads to an increase in accidents in farming communities.  A study at Iowa State has shown that almost half of all collisions involving farm vehicles happen from October through November. 

The most common of these collisions occur when a distracted driver runs into the rear end of a farm vehicle, or when a passing motorist hits a farm vehicle trying to make a wide left turn. Data by the Iowa Department of Transportation shows that collisions involving farm vehicles are five times more likely to produce a fatality than any other type of motor vehicle accident. This is why drivers need to be on the lookout for farm vehicles.

Many motorists do not know the limitations of large farm vehicles. In order to make a wide enough left turn, the equipment operator might need to turn to the right slightly. Motorists see this slight right turn and assume the farm vehicle driver accidentally signaled to go left when they meant to signal right. This causes impatient motorists to begin to pass the farm vehicle only to have that vehicle start to turn left, and cause a collision. 

Farm equipment lighting may also not be very well maintained, especially the rear lighting. This may also contribute to rear end collisions. Motorists driving late at night might not notice the farm vehicles. 

Farm machinery travels slower than normal traffic, often at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less. Automobile drivers need to quickly identify farm equipment and slow down to avoid rear end crashes.  It is a good idea to stay back at least 50 feet so you remain visible to the equipment operator.

Vehicles aren't the only thing that drivers need to be aware of. The harvesting of crops like corn disturbs the habitat of wild animals. Deer are the leading cause of animal related car accidents. Motorists should be on the lookout for deer that are moving at this time of year.

To avoid accidents during the harvest season, keep an extra eye on the road, and always be patient when driving near farm vehicles.

Thank you for your time and attention.  Let’s make it safe this Monday.

Lucas Wertish
Demand Generation Specialist, Lift’n Buddy, a Southworth Company