Slow Down for Safety During Harvest

News / FBNews October 27, 2022

Credit: Georgia Farm Bureau member Andy Lucas 

Whether you’re a farmer wanting to make just one more pass in the field before a storm rolls in or a driver with just enough time to make it to a dentist appointment, everyone in rural communities should slow down at harvest time – just enough to consider your safety and the safety of those around you, according to North Carolina Farm Bureau Field Representative Callie Carson.

“Weather plays a big part in harvest, and a lot of times farmers will say, ‘I just have one more row, I have one more field, I've got to beat the weather.’ So, a lot of times it's just slowing down. And I understand that in terms of profitability, we've got to get the crop out, but the crop’s not any good if the farmer is injured or not there anymore,” Carson said in a Newsline interview.

She also cautioned rural drivers.

“Rural roadways have obstacles, curves, hills, blind spots, trees, so what we ask our motorists to do is just slow down and pay attention, look for equipment, put down the phone, eliminate as many distractions in the vehicle as possible, and then also pay attention. So, if they see a piece of farm equipment as soon as they see that piece of equipment, slow down immediately.”

Kansas farmer Glenn Brunkow echoed Carson’s advice in a recent Focus on Agriculture column.

“If you are driving during harvest, please, give the equipment plenty of room. Stay far enough back to see the rearview mirrors of the vehicle ahead of you because that will mean they can also see you. Farm equipment moves slowly so take that into account as you approach. You will close the gap much faster than you may realize,” he wrote.

Brunkow also had some suggestions for farmers.

“As ag producers we need to make sure our equipment has working lights and turn signals. We need to be aware of who is around us on the roads and have a plan of action that assumes other drivers will not do the right thing. If at all possible, move equipment at times when the road is less crowded.”

Looking for more on road safety during harvest season? Check out another Focus on Agriculture column. This one’s by Texas Farm Bureau’s Julie Tomascik, who shares seven things you can do when you meet farm equipment on the road.

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