Social Links Search




Road and Farm Safety this Spring

Road and Farm Safety this Spring

As fields begin to dry, farmers and ag retailers will be moving large equipment over the roads to fields. This activity prompts my annual appeal to all to be patient and safe on roads during the spring planting season.

As drivers, we all know it can be frustrating when we encounter delays from a train, or farm equipment going slowly. However, I think everyone’s wish is for safe travel and safe arrival to their destinations for everyone on the road.

Modern farm vehicles have more safety equipment than previous models, including better lighting, but the individual vehicles are much larger and pose a greater danger in a collision. Tractors, planters, sprayers, and other farm equipment can be two to three times the height of passenger vehicles, weigh up to 40,000 pounds or more, and take up more than a lane of traffic.

Slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems should be displayed on farm equipment and other slow-moving vehicles. An SMV emblem is a triangle shape, with an orange fluorescent center and red reflective borders. Equipment and other vehicles displaying this emblem are capable of speeds no faster than 25 miles per hour. Driving at road speed, the gap between you and the equipment will close quickly, so immediate caution and slower speeds are prudent.

Most farmers have had some significant days in the farm shop to get equipment ready. However, I’d urge farmers to recheck the condition of SMV emblems to make sure they are still fluorescent. Over time, these emblems can fade, become less noticeable, and need replacing.

Other road-related safety equipment, such as headlights, taillights, flashing lights, hitch pins, tires, and wheel bearings also should be checked.

Large equipment should be fully folded to transport position for the safety of the farmer and other drivers when moving from field to field over the road.

Coupling road hazards with general farming risks, farming is a dangerous operation.

According to the Purdue University Agricultural Safety and Health Program’s 2021 Indiana Farm Fatality Summary with Historical Overview, “The 20 documented fatalities in 2021 are a decrease from the 25 cases identified in 2020 and the fewest in the past eight years, reflecting the continuing historical trend of a declining number of annual fatalities.” While any loss of life is tragic, the trend is good news.

However, the relatively few Indiana non-fatal farm-related injuries that were identified in 2021 as part of the fatality surveillance efforts were generally severe, including loss of a limb or head injuries. They may also have involved the use of medical helicopters for transport to a trauma center.

The Purdue summary has traditionally excluded most motor vehicle crashes which do not involve transport of agricultural equipment or crops, or that could not be specifically linked to farm work-related activities.

A disproportionate share of farm fatalities come from small or hobby farms and from Amish/Old Order populations. Some of the risks include horses as a primary power source, bulls for breeding, and older machinery that does not meet current safety standards. On small or hobby farms, this especially includes older tractors without roll-over protective structures (ROPS).

Click here to read more

Photo Credit: istock-chas53

Indiana’s Largest Electric Utility Submits Request to Raise Electric Bills Indiana’s Largest Electric Utility Submits Request to Raise Electric Bills
Indiana Farm Bureau AgELECT PAC Endorses 21 Candidates Indiana Farm Bureau AgELECT PAC Endorses 21 Candidates

Categories: Indiana, Crops, Equipment & Machinery

Subscribe to newsletters

Crop News

Rural Lifestyle News

Livestock News

General News

Government & Policy News

National News

Back To Top