Ask a Trooper: Motorists should be cautious and not assume farm equipment operators can see them
Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. Operators need flashing lights and slow-moving vehicle emblems, and other motorists need to be cautious and give them space.
Question: Now that spring if finally here, I am seeing a lot of tractors, sprayers and other large equipment on the highways. A number of them didn’t appear to be using their flashing lights, slow moving signs and escort when required. I am concerned this could cause a bad crash. Can you write about this in your “Ask a Trooper” column?
Answer: Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways need to be aware of large farm equipment as there is a lot of field activity, and everyone needs to do their part in sharing the road.
Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line.
In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes.
Farm equipment may be driven or towed to the left of the center of a roadway only if it is escorted at the front by a vehicle displaying hazard warning lights visible in normal sunlight. The equipment also must not extend into the left half of the roadway more than is necessary.
Farm equipment operators should:
- Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
- Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
- Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
- Properly secure the load.
- Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment. Don’t assume the operator can see you.
- Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.
- Wait for a safe and legal place to pass.
Questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota may be sent to Minnesota State Patrol Sgt. Jesse Grabow at 1000 Highway 10 W., Detroit Lakes, MN 56560. You can follow him on Twitter @MSPPIO_NW or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org