Safely navigating large agricultural equipment over rural roads to and from the fields is a challenge for even the best drivers. Nationwide and your friends at American Trust Insurance remind you to consider the following rules on the safe operation of your equipment to help reduce the number of farm-vehicle accidents on America’s rural roadways.
The increase in size of agricultural equipment makes it almost certain that portions will extend left of center when operated on public roads. Courts have generally upheld the right of equipment operators to use public roads, but that doesn’t give immunity from liability should you have an accident when the size of your equipment is in direct violation.
Accidents are more prevalent at certain times of the day. Operating in the morning presents an increased risk as people head off to work and school. Drivers are usually in a hurry and often lack the patience to follow a slow-moving vehicle. The same is true during afternoons and early evenings as schools let out and people are returning home from work.
The left-turn collision is one of the most common accidents involving articulating farm vehicles, such as a tractor pulling a tool bar and nurse tank. When attempting to make a left turn, equipment operators commonly pull to the right in order to make a wide left turn. Motorists behind the equipment may view the movement of the equipment to the right as permission to pass.
Large farm equipment and old bridges don’t mix. Before crossing a rural bridge, make sure your vehicle weight will not damage the bridge or cause it to collapse. Because rural bridges are often very narrow, allow oncoming traffic to clear the bridge before starting across. This reduces the total weight on the bridge and gives you more space to maneuver. Tractors, combines and sprayers have high wheels with tires that have large lugs to facilitate traction. If you pull right to cross the bridge with oncoming traffic, your tires can easily come into contact with the guardrail and subsequently cause your equipment to climb the rail or even tip off the bridge.
For more information about traveling safely with farm vehicles, visit www.ruralroadsafety.com.
Article courtesy of Nationwide Agribusiness