MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Harvest is around the corner and farmers will be on the roads with heavy machinery and once again, public safety officials and extension employees are stressing safety on the roads.
As farmers put in long hours during harvest, there are precautions both farmers and motorists can take while on the road as harvest time comes around to keep everyone safe.
“Following the machinery too close can provide its own hazards and challenges, we want to make sure people are cognizant of the machinery on the roadway,” said Captain Paul Barta of the Blue Earth County Sheriff’s Office.
Safety on the road includes being aware of all safety hazards.
“Not passing unless it’s absolutely safe to do so in an area that would allow it, and to not crowd it,” said Barta.
“Speed is a factor too, maybe just not realizing how much more quickly they’re traveling than the machinery is,” said Barta.
Being patient with farm equipment is key for other drivers on the road to maintain safety for all drivers.
“You don’t know always know when the machinery is going to be turning because they also are trying to stay out of the way, generally, of traffic and might need to make that turn at the time somebody is trying to get around them,” said Barta.
Farmers can double-check all lights and tires as well as slowing their own roll to maintain their own safety while working.
“Treat yourself as you would treat your biggest asset on your farm. Know your limits, not pushing yourself to get that extra five to ten acres before the day is done,” said Shane Bugeja, an extension educator for Blue Earth and Le Sueur Counties.
Other tips are to always have a helping hand.
“If you’re going to be hauling or doing anything at night, it may be worth an escort driver that can be there to kind of have an extra layer of protection, especially when you have other drivers that may not be paying attention,” said Bugeja.
“It’s kind of preaching to the choir, but patience is going to be a virtue in this harvest season and that goes for drivers as well as farmers,” said Bugeja.