Iowa Specialty Hospital

Harvest Safety Tips for Motorists and Farmers

September 19, 2018

It’s Farm Safety and Health Week.  Here are a few tips for both farmers and others drivers to follow during harvest.

Safety Tips for Motorists:
•    Watch for slow-moving vehicle (SMV) signs on the back of equipment.  These orange or red triangular signs are a warning to slow down and stay a safe distance behind a tractor, combine, or other farm equipment.
•    Pass carefully.  Resist the urge to pass illegally; never pass on curves, hills, near intersections, railroad crossings, bridges, or tunnels.
•    Don’t assume that a farmer is moving onto the shoulder to allow you to pass.  He or she may be preparing to take a wide left turn.  Watch for their turn signals and also for hand signals from the farmer.  
•    Be a courteous passer.  Don’t just roar by when passing.  Air turbulence from speeding vehicles can cause farm equipment to sway and become unsteady. 
•    Beware of wide loads.  Make sure there is plenty of room to pass.  Flashing lights and reflective tape are often used to mark the far right or left edges of the equipment, which may be wider than road lanes. 
•    Obey all traffic laws.

Safety Tips for Farmers:
•    Verify that all lights and flashers are working properly before taking to the road.
•    Use warning flashers, flags, lights and slow-moving vehicle emblems on all equipment.
•    Apply reflective tape to the edges of machines to improve visibility for motorists at dusk.
•    Be mindful of the height of your equipment and avoid low-hanging power lines.
•    Check towed equipment: All loads should be balanced properly and securely mounted.
•    Whenever possible, avoid well-traveled roads during high-traffic times.
•    Avoid traveling before dawn and after dusk, if possible. If you do need to be on the road during these times, ensure headlights are in good working order. Headlights help you see and be seen by other motorists.
•    Use turn signals and hand signals whenever possible to communicate with fellow drivers.
•    Use precaution when traveling on soft/gravel shoulders, narrow bridges, loose gravel, bumps and deep ruts. Your equipment will handle these conditions differently than passenger vehicles will.
•    Obey all traffic laws.

We hope you’ll use these tips to remain safe this fall.  From all of us, we wish you all a safe and bountiful harvest. 


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