Here’s a quick road rules reality check. While the law was changed in 2014 to prohibit drivers from passing farm equipment going less than half the speed limit even on double yellow lines, a lot of drivers are breaking it.
The word is getting out, though. Take a look and listen to a recent news report on Channel 3 in Madison.
Even with the law on your side, though, the reality is it will take time for people to learn and follow the new law.
So what can you do to keep yourself safe? This article from the United Soybean Board gives four great suggestions.
- Make sure your machinery is properly equipped. Are all your road identifiers up to spec? Are your mirrors clear? If you’re not sure, ask your sheriff. They’ll be glad to help. And while your talking, if there are particular trouble spots on the road, let them know about them.
- Travel in pairs. If possible, have a regular motor vehicle with flashing hazard lights follow directly behind your equipment. Chip Petrea, an agriculture safety and health researcher with the University of Illinois, notes this is an encouraged safe practiee and gives other drivers additional reaction time.
- Avoid driving while fatigued. No question, farmers put in long hours and that can slow your reaction time.
- Trust experienced drivers. When possible, put the best rested, most experienced person behind the wheel to operate farm equipment on the road.
Petrea also says it’s a best practice to assume other motorists are unaware of your slow-moving equipment and the challenges they create for you. The same may be true about knowledge of the new no passing laws as well.
Do your best to focus on operating your equipment safely when you’re on the road. While you may have a million things on your mind, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that while you’re on the road, getting to your destination safely is the only thing that matters until you arrive.
If you have ideas and suggestions, be sure to post them in the forum so others can benefit.