Indiana agencies warn motorists about farm equipment
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Several state agencies are warning Indiana motorists that harvest season has started and they should expect to see slow-moving farm equipment on roads.
Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann said in a statement Wednesday that drivers should have patience and drive safely around slow-moving vehicles.
"While motorists cruise the beautiful rural roadways of Indiana this fall, they should be aware of slow-moving farm equipment using those roads during harvest season," Ellspermann said. "It is incredibly important to get this message out to ask all drivers to have patience and drive safely around slow-moving vehicles. I encourage all Hoosiers to be mindful and alert for farm equipment on roadways this harvest season."
The Indiana state departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security and Transportation and the Indiana State Police remind motorists that some farm equipment is so wide that it takes up most of a roadway. They say if a vehicle is traveling at 55 mph and a tractor is moving at 15 mph, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field.
By law, farm equipment must have the nationally designated slow-moving vehicle sign -- a red triangle-shaped reflector -- to warn oncoming drivers.
The following tips will help ensure the safety of motorists, passengers, and operators of slow-moving equipment:
* Farmers on roadways are going to or from work, just like many other people on the road.
* Most farmers will pull over when they are able to let you pass, but it may take time for them to get to a safe place to do so. Be patient.
* Farm equipment is wide, sometimes taking up most of the roadway. Be careful when passing.
* The red triangle on the back of an implement, farm machinery or other vehicle indicates a slow-moving vehicle (under 25 mph).
* If you're driving 55 mph and come upon a tractor that's moving 15 mph, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between you and the tractor.
* Do not try to pass a slow moving vehicle on the left without ensuring that the vehicle is not planning a left turn. It may appear that the driver is pulling over for you to pass when it is actually preparing to turn.
You will drive right into its path, endangering yourself and the farmer.
* Do not pass if you are in a designated "No Passing Zone" or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure, or tunnel.
* 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-hand 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 may turn.