Michigan Farm Bureau urges drivers to share the road with farm equipment
According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, while only 19% of Americans live in rural areas, 45% of traffic crash fatalities occurred on rural roadways from 2016-2020.Image credit: Michigan Farm Bureau
Date Posted: October 19, 2023
Jon Adamy, Michigan Farm Bureau
It’s harvest season in Michigan, and that means farmers are busy gathering foodfor families in Michigan and beyond.
Harvesting is hard work, and farmers can use large equipment to get it done. That means drivers may soon be seeing more farm machinery on the road.
The Michigan State Police 2022 Statewide Traffic Crash Data Year End Report shows crashes involving farm equipment rose from 195 in 2021 to 214 in 2022 — a nearly 10% increase year-over-year. Four of the crashes last year were fatal, with 60 injuries reported across the state.
The Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB) asks that drivers keep an eye out for anything that has an orange triangle on the back — which is a slow-moving vehicle sign.
"If you’re driving 55 miles an hour it only takes about five seconds to travel the length of a football field and catch up to a piece of equipment going 15 miles per hour," said Andrew Vermeesch, MFB legislative counsel. "That’s why it’s critical to be attentive and be ready to slow down."
Farmers also ask that if you’re behind farm equipment on the road, you slow down and only pass when it’s safe to do so. Remember that if you can’t see the driver of farm machinery, they can’t see you.
While farmers try their best to stay close to the shoulder of the road, keep in mind that they might have to merge over to avoid hitting something — like a mailbox.
Also remember that their machinery doesn’t turn like a car, so they may need to make a wide turns every now and then.
"We all want to get our work done safely and get back home safely to our families, and we can do it — together," Vermeesch added.