INDIANAPOLIS — If you have spent any time on rural Indiana roads or highways in the fall you know how it goes. You are heading out when suddenly traffic comes to a crawl when a piece of heavy farm equipment gets on the road.
With harvest almost here, officials are encouraging drivers to be on the lookout for farm equipment on the road. This could include tractors, combines, grain carts, grain wagons and large trucks hauling agricultural products.
While these vehicles are key to a successful harvest, they can cause some backups on the road. The Indiana State Department of Agriculture (ISDA) says these vehicles often travel at speeds no faster than 25 miles per hour.
“When traveling across rural Indiana this fall, we want to encourage motorists to prepare for extra travel time and slow down when approaching large farm equipment,” said Lt. Governor Crouch. “It is vital that all Hoosiers work together for a safe 2020 harvest season.”
The ISDA encourages motorists to leave 10 minutes early during harvest season and be aware of alternate routes. It is also important to watch for wide vehicles, especially when approaching hills and curves in the road.
The Indiana State Police says when attempting to pass farm equipment, people should look for oncoming traffic, pass only in designated passing zones and ensure they are following Indiana’s hands-free driving law. While farmers will pull over for motorists when they can, it may take some time to find a safe place to do so.
“As farmers begin to harvest this year’s crops, please remember to be courteous and cautious when meeting farm equipment on the roadways,” said Doug Carter, Indiana State Police Superintendent. “By working together and sharing our roadways, we can ensure we all make it home safely.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says in 2018 farm equipment vehicles were involved in 98 crashes across the U.S., with two farm equipment vehicles being involved in fatal crashes in Indiana.