It's harvest time, which means farmers are on the roadways with heavy equipment. Farm equipment is moved at all hours of the day as farmers rush to complete the harvest.
While equipment operators generally pull off to the side of the road in order to let traffic pass, increasing traffic in agricultural areas makes this difficult.
A few tips motorists should consider while traveling include:
- Pay attention to the area you are driving. Road grades, curves and bridges can limit a motorist's view of what lies ahead.
- Slow down. Excessive speed on rural roads is dangerous.
- Use caution when passing farm equipment because operator visibility, and your own, is limited.
- Farm equipment make wide turns, and while some of the newer equipment may have turn signals, older equipment might not.
- Watch for warning lights and Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) triangles on farm equipment.
Clay County Sheriff Mike Heaton says driving safety during this time of year, or anytime, is simple.
"If you see farm equipment down the road and you're driving 55 mph, they're driving 35 mph, you're going to close that gap pretty quick. It's really just a matter of paying attention," Heaton said. "There are a lot of distractions for drivers -- technology like cellphones and radios, or just doing something other than driving while driving. People just need to pay attention to their surroundings."