Blog: Planting season has arrived; watch out for big farm equipment on Indiana roads (4/26/22)
INDIANA (April 21, 2022) — Planting season is fast approaching for Indiana’s 94,000 farmers. With the warm weather and sunshine, motorists in Hoosier will also see more large, slow-moving farm equipment hitting Indiana’s rural roads and highways. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana State Police and Hoosier Ag Today wish encourage motorists to slow down, be alert and be patient on rural roads this spring.
“Our farmers have a tremendous job to do, feeding ourselves and the rest of the world,” said Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch, Secretary of Agriculture. “And with that job comes a huge responsibility; helping our farmers where we can. When you see big farm equipment moving, our Hoosier roads slow down and give them space so everyone can get where they’re going safely.
In Indiana, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2020 three vehicles were involved in collisions with farm equipment, which resulted in two deaths.
“In the spring and fall, Indiana is seeing a drastic increase in large farm equipment on our rural roads and highways,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “In our strong agricultural state, it is essential that motorists in Hoosier know the steps to follow when approaching agricultural equipment on the roads to ensure that we all get home safely with our families.”
While the term “agricultural equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common types that motorists will encounter during planting season include sprayers, tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment, and large trucks. transporting agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often traveling at speeds of no more than 25 mph.
The following list includes several safety tips for motorists approaching large farm equipment:
- Farmers will pull over when they can 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 overtaking. Do not pass in a designated “no-passing zone” or within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad crossing, bridge, rising structure or tunnel.
- Do not attempt to pass slow-moving farm equipment on the left without ensuring that the farmer driving is not planning to turn left. It may appear that the driver is stopping to allow an overtake when the farmer is actually preparing to turn. You will drive straight into his path, putting yourself and the farmer in danger.
- Avoid tailgating as some farm equipment may have to make sudden stops along the road.
- Allow plenty of time to get to your destination, be aware of alternate routes, and avoid distractions.
“Moving farm equipment on roads is one of the most dangerous parts of my job. It takes time to find a safe space to stop and allow other motorists to pass safely. Please be considerate when driving behind farm equipment, drivers and I have the same goal in mind every time we take a trip on the Hoosier roads – to do our job and bring it home safely to our loved ones,” said Brent Bible, Tippecanoe Co. farmer.
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler wants to remind motorists that farmers work hard to make sure they are as safe as possible.
“Hoosier farmers are trying to get to their fields safely and quickly, just like our Hoosier motorists are trying to get to work safely and quickly,” Kettler said. “I want to encourage motorists to be aware during this spring season that they are likely to encounter farm equipment and to slow down when approaching.”
For a list of safety tips, click here or visit isda.in.gov. The following organizations will be working together to share this important safety message during planting season: Hoosier Ag Today, Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, and Indiana State Police.
Click on here for a public service announcement created by Hoosier Ag Today. Listen to the PSA by tuning into Hoosier Ag Today radio stations. To find a local broadcast station, click here.