Nebraska motorists can expect to see more agricultural equipment on the roadways as harvest season gets underway. Captain Brett Friesz, with the Nebraska State Patrol, has some reminders for both the operators of big equipment and drivers in cars, trucks and SUVs.
“In keeping with the State Patrol’s goals and objectives to reduce fatality crashes, we want to remind all implement operators to make sure they are using their light systems and their SMV is attached to their tractors,” Captain Friesz says. “We want to caution all drivers that it is harvest time and there will be additional vehicles sharing the road with them so take a little more time and drive with care.”
Friesz says when you are driving on two-lane roads, be prepared that a piece of farm equipment may be just over that next hill. “We are sharing the road with agricultural workers out there and we want to make sure they are safe,” he says. “If you are operating in areas where you might find implements of husbandry, know they are out there. You may want to travel at slower speeds and take your time.”
Captain Friesz says all drivers need to pack more patience this time of year as big farm equipment moves slow. This equipment is large and heavy and if a driver hits it, the big equipment will win. “It is easy to become a little antsy when you’re sharing the road with slow-moving agricultural equipment, so it’s time for all drivers to exercise caution and take great care when following or passing these farm vehicles,” he says.
Captain Friesz says, luckily, there have not been a lot of accidents in the state where vehicles collide with farm equipment. “The majority of the time when these bigger vehicles are involved in these accidents, it’s because people are traveling to fast on the roads and don’t know they are out there,” he says. “I would like to caution all drivers of agriculture equipment, be especially careful at railroad crossings because it is difficult to hear in some of these vehicles.”
Operators of agricultural implements are reminded they may travel on the shoulder of the roadway when one is available. Drivers need to use extra care when passing farm equipment and be aware they may turn into a field or other areas that are not marked.