SPRING BRINGS INCREASED FARM EQUIPMENT MOVEMENT ON ROADWAYS
(AMES) While wet weather has delayed the planting season in Iowa, a few days of dry weather at the end of this week should allow farmers to get into the fields and onto the roads with farm equipment.
As the spring planting season begins, the Iowa Department of Transportation is urging motorists and farm vehicle operators to exercise caution during the movement of slow-moving equipment on Iowa’s roadways.
Data for 2010 shows a total of 199 crashes involved farm equipment. Those crashes resulted in four fatalities, 12 major injuries, 42 minor injuries and 38 other possible injuries. There were also 129 crashes that resulted only in property damage.
The DOT offers these tips for motorists; be alert and always watch for slow moving vehicles, especially during planting and harvest seasons. Be patient and do not assume the equipment operator can move aside to let you pass. The shoulder may not be able to support a heavy farm vehicle. Slow down as soon as you see the triangular-shaped, red and fluorescent orange slow-moving vehicle emblem.
And for farm vehicle operators; make your intentions known when you are turning by using signal lights or the appropriate hand signal in advance of the turn. Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. Traveling partially on the shoulder may cause motorists to risk passing in a dangerous situation. Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the traffic go by. Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train extends three feet beyond the tracks on both sides.