Farming Safely: Best Practices for Sharing Roads with Ag Equipment

Headshot of Trent Klarenbach, founder of Klarenbach Research
Trent Klarenbach
April 11, 2024
A scenic rural road where a farmer in a red tractor and motorists in cars share the road safely, surrounded by green fields and trees under a clear sky.
April 11, 2024
Farming extends beyond fields, often reaching public roads, especially during peak agricultural periods. Ensuring safety on these roads involves mutual awareness and understanding between farmers and motorists.

Road Safety Challenges in Agriculture

Farming equipment, such as tractors and combines, presents unique challenges on roads due to their size, speed, and maneuverability differences compared to regular vehicles​.

A diligent farmer in overalls and a hat inspecting a large green agricultural machine in a farmyard, focusing on safety features and maintenance.

Safety Tips for Farmers

Farmers should follow these guidelines to ensure safety:

  • Read equipment operation manuals and heed warning decals.
  • Conduct pre-operation equipment safety inspections.
  • Use lights, flashers, and "slow-moving vehicle" emblems on public roads.
  • Consider a follow vehicle for large equipment transport, particularly at night​ (Extension at the University of Minnesota)​.
A careful motorist in a silver car overtaking a large, slow-moving yellow tractor on a sunlit rural road, ensuring a safe distance and clear visibility ahead.

Guidance for Motorists Around Farm Equipment

Motorists sharing the road with farm equipment should:

  • Recognize Slow-Moving Vehicle signs and maintain a safe following distance.
  • Pass farm equipment carefully, adhering to road rules and conditions.
  • Watch for farm equipment's hand signals, indicating turn intentions.
  • Avoid speeding past farm equipment to prevent causing instability.
  • Be mindful of equipment's width, ensuring safe clearance​ (Home | Farm Bureau Financial Services)​.
A community meeting in a rustic town hall with farmers and local residents seated in a circle, actively discussing road safety measures with a rural backdrop.

Collaborative Practices for Road Safety

Effective communication and cooperation between farmers and local communities enhance road safety. Awareness programs and community meetings can foster a shared understanding and respect for road use by both parties.

Farm Equipment Road Safety Measures

Farm equipment operators should:

  • Drive defensively and remain alert.
  • Ensure equipment is highly visible with proper signage and lighting.
  • Conduct thorough checks of equipment before road travel.
  • Avoid busy roads and travel during low-traffic periods when possible​ (Iowa State Extension)​​ (Auto, Home, Life, & More)​.
A tranquil country road meandering through lush green fields with both farm equipment and vehicles traveling safely, illustrating harmonious road sharing in a rural setting.

The Road to Safety is Shared

The essence of safely sharing roads with farm equipment lies in mutual respect, understanding, and adherence to safety practices. Both farmers and drivers must be proactive in maintaining road safety to prevent accidents.

For more detailed safety guidelines and information on sharing roads with farm equipment, refer to resources provided by agricultural extensions and safety organizations​​ (Rear View Safety)​.