Harvest season equates to additional machinery traffic
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KBSI) – It’s that time of year.
Farmers across the state have started harvesting their crops and will be doing so for the next several weeks. This means drivers will see farm machinery traveling Missouri’s roads, especially in rural areas. The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds all drivers to share the road and obey all traffic laws. Farmers and motorists alike are encouraged to be safe, courteous drivers.
In 2021, there were 203 Missouri traffic crashes involving farm equipment. In those crashes, seven people were killed and 60 were injured.
Whether you’re driving a vehicle or operating farm machinery, you must pay attention to the roadway, other drivers, and traffic signs. Distracted drivers are dangerous drivers.
- Make sure your farm equipment is properly marked with lights and a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem when you travel on the roadway.
- If traffic accumulates behind you on the road where it is difficult to make a safe pass, pull off onto the side of the road in a level area, so vehicles can pass.
- Always drive as far to the right as possible.
- It’s harder to see you at dawn or dusk, so please don’t travel on the road during those times if possible. Often, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used for agricultural purposes. ATVs being used for farming can only travel on highways during daylight hours and must be equipped with lights, a bicycle flag, and a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem. The law requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a safety helmet when operating an ATV; the Patrol, however, recommends operators wear a safety helmet regardless of age.
- Remember: Missouri law allows agricultural machinery and implements to be operated on state highways between the hours of sunset and sunrise for agricultural purposes provided such vehicles are equipped with the required lighting. Like other motor vehicles, most modern farm tractors have seat belts. Always use a seat belt when operating a tractor equipped with a roll-over protection structure.
- For Drivers:
- Stay alert for slow moving farm equipment. When you drive up behind a tractor or other farm machinery, please slow down and be patient. Wait to pass until you have a clear view of the road ahead and there is no oncoming traffic. Never pass on a hill or curve.
- Collisions commonly occur when a motorist tries to pass a left-turning farm vehicle. A tractor that appears to be pulling to the right side of the road to let motorists pass, may be preparing to make a wide left turn. Watch the farmer’s hand and light signals closely.
- It’s important that you pay close attention to farm equipment entering and leaving the highway from side roads and driveways. Special attention must be paid when traveling at dawn or dusk when the sun makes it difficult for drivers to see. Follow the Missouri State Highway Patrol on Twitter @MSHPTrooperGHQ.