Fall is here, which means more farm machinery will be traveling on the roadways. Just like motorists farmers are allowed to use the same road ways to travel from field to field. Both the motorists and the farmers have an obligation to share the roadway safely.

Farm machinery is large and heavy, making it hard for the operator to speed up, slow down and stop. The machines make wide turns and sometimes have to cross over centerlines to do so. The equipment itself is also wider than typical cars and trucks and sometimes will take up two lanes. Also, be mindful that there are large blind spots for the operator, making it difficult to see approaching vehicles. 

Safety tips for motorists: 

  • Pass with caution
    • Do not pass if you can see oncoming traffic 
    • Do not pass if there is a hill or a curve
    • Do not pass in “no passing zones”
  • Do not assume an operator is pulling over to the right side is allowing you to pass. Due to the size of some equipment the operator may need to make wide left-hand turns. 
  • Do not assume that the operator knows you are behind them. While the operator may try to look back they will spend a majority of their time looking ahead at oncoming traffic. 
  • Do not text and drive. 
  • Get over and off to the side if coming towards wide equipment. 


Safety tips for farmers:

  • Have a visible slow moving vehicle sign (SMV).
  • Turn on your lights.
  • Use pilot vehicles if traveling long distances one in the front and one in the back.
  • Make sure your equipment has mirrors so you can stay aware of motorists around you.
  • Do not text and operate machinery. 
  • Get over and off to the side if a vehicle is coming towards you. 

Paying attention to your surroundings this harvest season can help save lives of both the farmers and the motorists. 


Michigan State University 

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