Rural Roads Safety Week
The Clinton County Farm Bureau is recognizing Rural Roads Safety Week April 18-24 by encouraging motorists to travel safely on roadways this spring and throughout the year.
You may have noticed that farmers are returning to the fields to begin planting crops. As the new season gets underway, tractors, farm trucks, wagons and other large equipment are once again traveling on Pennsylvania roadways. To the distracted or impatient motorist, vehicles such as these can pose a threat when safe driving practices are not observed. For example, if a car is traveling 55 mph and comes upon a tractor moving 15 miles per hour, it only takes five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between the car and the tractor.
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau (PFB) reminds motorists that farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on Pennsylvania roads. Don’t forget to reduce your speed when driving on roads where you might encounter large farm machinery. Also make sure to slow down immediately when you see the SLOW-MOVING VEHICLE (SMV) emblem, which is an orange triangle with a red border, attached to farm vehicles.
In order to accommodate motorists, drivers of slow-moving farm vehicles often pull onto the shoulder of a paved roadway to give other motorists a better view of road conditions and enough room to pass. Keep in mind that if the shoulder is soft, wet or steep, the farmer cannot move aside, because it could cause the equipment to roll over. If the farmer is unable to safely pull his or her vehicle off the road, and you feel you must pass, do so with caution.
The Clinton Farm Bureau notes that while it’s timely to remind motorists to be cautious now that spring planting is underway, practicing safe driving habits on rural roads is important all year long.
Drivers need to keep their guard up throughout the planting, growing and harvesting seasons by reducing speed and being more aware of other motorists. We believe accidents can be prevented if farmers and motorists look out for one another on rural roads. If motorists hear our messages and follow safe driving tips, costly accidents can be avoided, and lives can be saved.
On behalf of the Clinton County Farm Bureau, I encourage all residents to be aware of farm vehicles and equipment during their travels on rural roads. By working together, we can make the trip safe for motorists and farmers.
(Justin Snook is president of the Clinton County Farm Bureau.)