Marshfield – (OnFocus) – As farmers are busy across the state growing crops that everyone depends on, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) is urging drivers to please slow down and be patient when encountering farm vehicles.
According to the DOT, last year there were 165 farm vehicle-related crashes, with 53 injuries and three fatalities.
When legally passing, drivers should consider the possibility of the farm vehicle turning left into a roadway or field entrance. To enhance safety and visibility, farmers should use appropriate lights and signage.
Sharing the road is a movement that helps raise awareness to help keeps drivers and drivers of slow-moving machinery safe. Tom Hoffman, Agronomy Division Manager at ProVision Partners, reminds drivers to “Be patient, and pass in the passing zones.”
He also strongly encourages drivers to use their signals and be aware of the tractor-driver’s left side. “Many times, they can’t see as well on that side,” he explained.
Other tips for safely sharing the road include keeping within a manageable speed limit when passing and being aware of the distance between the car and the machinery.
Rural road safety is a huge concern locally, and the National Farm Medicine Center is currently working on initiatives to educate the public and keep everyone safe.
“Roadway safety is literally a two-way street. Non-agricultural drivers are responsible for going the speed limit and being aware of their surroundings. This means as few distractions as possible, including cell phones,” said Cultural Anthropologist Associate Research Scientist Casper “Cap” Bendixsen, PhD.. “Moreover, drivers would greatly benefit by talking to a farmer or a plain community member (Amish, Mennonite, etc.) about why they are on the road. Farmers are often more afraid of roadway incidents than many of the dangerous features of their other work.”
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