The week of April 15-21 has Pennsylvania residents promoting the importance of rural safety on the state’s roadways. With the warmer spring weather approaching, farmers are preparing to start up their tractors and begin working on their fields for the upcoming season.
What does this mean for other motorists? It means that we all need to keep an eye out for the slow moving vehicles on our rural roads. In fact, it is reported by the Federal Highway Administration that 57 percent of all fatal car accidents occur on rural roads, many involving agricultural equipment.
According to a research study performed by the University of Minnesota, many Americans are more “relaxed and comfortable” while traveling on rural roads, which leads to an increase of dangerous risk-taking.
Unsafe behaviors, such as distracted driving and the lack of seatbelt use, are also being made by farmers busy operating their heavy equipment. It is believed that because the rural roads have less traffic, there is less to worry about — which is not true.
Many suggestions have been made to farmers and other motorists to start off next week’s safety awareness.
- Perform safety checks on tractor lights and other equipment
- Try to move farm equipment across the roads during “non-peak” times of day
- Allow for ample drive times to account for slow moving farm vehicles
- When passing a farm vehicle, do not pass on a curve or hill that blocks a driver’s view
Source: Southwest Farm Press, “Rural road safety urged during spring planting season,” Logan Hawkes, April 12, 2012