NBC15 reported that from 2010 to 2020, Wisconsin had 1,714 auto accidents involving farm equipment that resulted in 29 deaths.
As the vibrant autumn colors begin to grace the Wisconsin landscape, it is also a time when agricultural communities gear up for harvest season. This season plays an important role in the state’s economy, but it also brings unique challenges when it comes to road safety due to the increased presence of slow-moving vehicles.
Be mindful of farm equipment
During the harvest season, you are likely to encounter farm equipment, such as tractors, combines and other large machines. They move slowly and take up a significant portion of the road, so you need to be patient when driving behind them, and only pass when it is safe to do so.
Slow-moving vehicles have orange, triangular-shaped slow-moving vehicle signs on the rear. These signs indicate that the vehicle’s maximum speed is 25 miles per hour. When you see these signs, exercise caution and maintain a safe following distance.
Be alert at intersections
Many accidents during harvest season occur at intersections. Farm vehicles might unexpectedly turn onto a different road or enter your path. Approach intersections with extra caution and double-check for any oncoming or turning vehicles.
Respect no-passing zones
Passing a slow-moving farm vehicle in a no-passing zone can lead to serious accidents. Be patient, and wait for a designated passing zone when it is safe and legal to overtake the vehicle.
Exercise caution on rural roads
Farmers frequently use rural roads to transport their crops or move machinery. These roads may be narrow and winding, making it important to stay alert and prepare for unexpected turns or stops.
Stay informed about road closures
Some agricultural activities may temporarily close certain roads or lanes. Check local traffic updates and plan your route accordingly to avoid disruptions.
Farmer do your part
Farmers and those driving harvest machinery should also exercise care when using the roadways. They should ensure their vehicles have proper lighting, especially during early morning or late evening hours. They also should use turn signals, hand signals and any available turnouts to communicate their intentions to other drivers. This can help prevent confusion and accidents.
Harvest season in Wisconsin is a time of celebration and hard work, but it also requires heightened awareness and responsibility on the roads. Remember, when sharing the road with agricultural vehicles, patience and caution are your best allies for a safe journey.