Drivers should be mindful of farming equipment
East Lackawannock Township
The Mercer County Farm Bureau is celebrating rural Roads Safety Week April 19-25 by encouraging county motorists to travel safely on roadways this spring and throughout the year.
You may have noticed that farmers are returning to the fields to begin planting crops. As the new season get underway, tractors, farm trucks, wagons and other large equipment are once again traveling on Pennsylvania roadways. To the distracted or impatient motorist, vehicles such as these can pose a threat when safe driving practices are not observed. For example, if a car is traveling 55 mph and comes upon a tractor moving 15 miles per hour, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the car and the tractor.
Don’t forget to reduce your speed when driving on roads where you might encounter large farm machinery. Also make sure to slow down immediately when you see the Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem, which is an orange triangle with a red border, attached to farm vehicles.
In order to accommodate motorists, drivers of slow moving farm vehicles often pull onto the shoulder of a paved roadway to give other motorists a better view of road conditions and enough room to pass. Keep in mind that if the shoulder is soft, wet or steep, the farmer cannot move aside, because it could case the equipment to roll over. If the farmer is unable to safely pull his or her vehicle off the road, and you feel you must pass, do so with caution.
On behalf of the Mercer County Farm Bureau, I encourage all residents to be aware of farm vehicles and equipment during their travels and rural roads. By working together, we can make the trip safe for motorists and farmers.
ROBERT CRAFT is president of the Mercer County Farm Bureau.