Harvest time is upon us, and that means farmers will be out and about moving their crops from the field to market.
That means, those responsible for feeding the nation will be using public roads more frequently in the coming weeks. While that can be a nuisance for travelers headed toward a destination, consider extending consideration instead of frustration toward the agriculture community.
Here’s some tips that can prove handy to farmers and nonfarmers alike:
1. Plan your travel — while driving farm machinery on roadways is unavoidable during harvest, try to plan your travel to avoid rush hours and darkness.
2. Keep equipment in good condition — since you’ll be operating the machinery a lot, make sure everything is working and fix any problems immediately.
3. Train all workers — if you’re bringing on extra workers to help with harvest, make sure they are properly trained and are confident in what they are doing.
4. Remember to rest — while early mornings and late nights are a natural part of harvest season, make sure to pack in at least eight hours of sleep every night — no one wants you falling asleep at the wheel.
5. Keep the slow moving vehicle emblem on display — when on roadways, make sure to have the emblem on your tractor and in plain sight for other motorists to see.
6. Don’t forget the hazards — make sure your hazard lights remain on for your entire trip.
7. Pull over — when shoulder and road conditions are safe, pull over for traffic to pass.
8. Shield yourself from the sun — while the weather might be getting cooler, the sun still is out and can be harmful without protection — apply sunscreen regularly and wear thick clothing.
9. Be careful when handling grain — never work alone in a bin, and always wear a harness or lifeline.
10. Keep children away — never allow a child younger than the age of 14 to operate machinery or ride on your lap.
11. Avoid distractions — while long hours in the tractor can be boring, avoid the urge to check your phone or eat while driving.
12 Have emergency numbers handy — pre-program emergency contacts into your phone in case you are in need of medical care.
For the public
1. Look out for slow moving vehicles — living in this area, you’re likely to encounter a lot of farm machinery on the roads — be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out.
2. Watch out for frequent turns — since farmers will be turning into field entrances that you won’t expect, always be ready for the vehicle in front of you to turn.
3. Pass with caution — when passing large farm machinery, triple check for oncoming traffic and try to wait until the machinery is able to pull over onto the shoulder before passing.
4. Look out for dust — the machinery in the fields often kicks up quite a bit of dust, so make sure it doesn’t obstruct your vision.
5. Be patient — while you might have places to go, it is important to be patient and share the road with the hardworking farmers in the area.