With wheat harvest underway, the Kansas Highway Patrol is reminding motorists to use more caution and patience when traveling around farm trucks, tractors, combines and other implements.
“As harvest is underway, each traveler in Kansas needs to be more aware of increased farm implement and truck traffic. In Kansas we have many trucks exiting and entering the roadways at any given time. Traveling around these vehicles requires extra caution,” said KHP Lieutenant Adam Winters said in a press release.
Most farm equipment is not designed to travel at highway speeds, and may only travel 15 to 25 miles per hour. Farm equipment is often wider than other vehicles and is sometimes wider than the lane of traffic. Extra caution should be practiced on all roads, but especially on the busy rural roads with unmarked intersections.
Preliminary numbers indicate that statewide in 2016, there were 110 crashes involving farm equipment. In those 110 crashes, one person was killed and 29 people were injured. Already this year, preliminary statistics indicate there have been 22 crashes, with seven people injured.
The KHP gives this tips for sharing Kansas roads with farmers:
• Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there. Most farmers regularly check for vehicles behind them, however, most of their time must be spent looking ahead to stay on the road and watch for oncoming traffic. Implements are very loud, hindering their ability to hear your vehicle.
• Pass with extreme caution. Don’t pass unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the equipment you are passing.
• When a farm vehicle pulls to the right side of the road, it does not mean it is turning right or allowing you to pass. Due to the size of some farm equipment, the farmer must execute wide left turns, so allow it plenty of room and time to turn and be alert to see if there might be a driveway or field they may be turning into.
• Be patient. Don’t assume that a farmer can move aside to let you pass. Shoulders may be soft, wet or steep, which can cause the farm vehicle to tip, or the shoulder may not support the weight of a heavy farm vehicle.
• Pay attention. When you are not focused solely on the road, you increase your chances of a collision, especially if you should come upon a slow moving farm vehicle.