With the harvest season right around the corner, state agencies from across Georgia are coming together to increase awareness for farm equipment safety.
Crashes involving farm equipment on Georgia's roads increased 33% in 2011. With the harvest season right around the corner, state agencies from across Georgia are coming together to increase awareness for farm equipment safety.
Gary Black serves as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Black told WGXA, "While traveling, we urge you to be mindful of tractors and other farm equipment sharing the same roadways and to take extra precaution.”
According to a release, data shows that the rate of farm equipment crashes rose 33 percent from 2010 to 2011. Among the 401 reported accidents involving farm equipment last year, five resulted in fatalities. Many more resulted in serious injuries.
Farm equipment often travels the roadway at speeds no higher than 25 MPH and legally must be marked with triangle-shaped reflectors to warn oncoming motorists of their presence on the roadway.
“As a farmer, I understand how slow-moving equipment may delay a motorist’s trip,” Zippy Duvall, president of the Georgia Farm Bureau, told WGXA. “But we farmers cannot always pull over as soon as we see an approaching vehicle. Sometimes the shoulder is too soft, too wet or too steep to safely support our heavy equipment.”
Georgians can improve their yield behind the wheel by following a few simple tips travelling Georgia’s rural roadways:
• When passing a farm vehicle, do not enter an oncoming lane of traffic unless you can see clearly ahead of the vehicle you will pass.
• Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right side of the road is going to turn right or is letting you pass. Due to the size of some farm implements, the farmer must execute wide left turns. If you are unsure, check the operator’s hand signals and check the left side of the road for gates, driveways or any place a farm vehicle might turn.
• Georgia law requires operators of slow moving vehicles to place a reflector on any machine that travels the road slower than 25 MPH. Always point the triangle reflector upwards, keep the emblem clean to maximize reflectivity and replace the emblem when it fades, normally every 2-3 years.
• Mark the edges of tractors and machines with reflective tape and reflectors. Consider installing retrofit lighting on older machinery to increase visibility.
• Turn on your light, but turn off spotlights when going onto the road.
• Avoid the highway during rush hour and bad weather. Do not drive before sunrise or after sunset.
• Consider installing mirrors on equipment to enable you to be more aware of motorists around you.