This week’s guest commentary comes from Pat Jilesen, Board Member, Ontario Federation of Agriculture
With spring planting in high gear, farm equipment is taking to the roadways to get to farm land across Ontario. And when slow moving vehicles share the road with motorists, the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) reminds farmers to remember the rules of the road to stay safe this season.
Data from the Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting outlines the common collision scenarios involving farm machinery. Take a moment to consider these before you head out on the road.
The most frequent single-vehicle collisions involving farm machinery are roll overs – usually occurring when equipment travels too far onto soft shoulders. Although it may slow traffic, drive equipment on the main part of the road, and be sure to share half the road with traffic that is oncoming or following.
When it comes to multi-vehicle collisions, motorists often collide with farm machinery that’s turning from a farm road on to a public roadway. Use lights, taillights and signals to make your equipment as visible as possible to other motorists. Always display your slow moving vehicle sign prominently on the back of your equipment. And take the extra time to wait for an opening onto a main roadway that will give you enough time to get on the road and be visible.
Rear-end collisions also make the list of common collisions between farm equipment and motorists. When you consider that a slow moving vehicle sign must be used on equipment travelling less than 40 km/h, it’s not really surprising that motorists often underestimate the size and speed of farm equipment they are following. And that can turn into a rear-end collision.
We can’t anticipate what other motorists will do, or how they’ll react to sharing the road this spring with farm equipment. So always start with safety. Be alert for drivers anxious to pass you at unexpected times, Use your lights. Share the road. And watch carefully as you turn onto public roadways and make left hand turns across traffic.
Spring represents the start of a fresh new year on the farm. Take the time to put safety first on the roadways, on your farm and for your family.