Keep roads safe during harvest

Field approaches and farmstead driveways are a clue that drivers might be making a left hand turn.

Field approaches and farmstead driveways are a clue that drivers might be making a left hand turn.

By Dan Martens
University of Minnesota Extension

When time seems short and the weather seems uncertain, we’re tempted to push a little harder at the harvest. We encourage farmers and other drivers to take their time on the roads and to resist the temptation to take shortcuts.

Anticipate left hand turns: Approach farm equipment carefully — whether wagons, grain trucks or machinery. Field approaches and farmstead driveways are a clue that they may be making a left hand turn. Before passing, make an effort to make sure the farm equipment driver knows you are there. Making a move to pass and finding out the farm driver is turning left is a bad deal. Be careful if the farm driver pulls over to the right, if you are not sure they see you. If there is an approach on the left, they might be trying to get more room to make a left hand turn.

Be careful approaching the crest of a hill or a curve where you can’t see what’s ahead very far. Even when you are going a lot faster than the farm implement, it still takes time and you don’t want to be surprised by someone coming from the other direction. Thinking, “I’ll just hurry up and pass” is a good clue to give it a little more thought.

Farm equipment operators should be careful to get a look at what’s behind before making a left hand turn. Be careful if pulling off toward the right edge of the road to give someone room to pass. The edge of the road is vulnerable to caving out and can result in rolling the load in the ditch. Wet conditions make the edge less stable. Don’t make a practice of driving as close to the edge as you can.

up arrow