There are two sides to every story.  Ever drive a country road, round a curve and come face to face with a huge piece of farm equipment?  It's just as unsettling inside the cab, if not more so.  That's why spring time road safety is a 2-way street.  Jeff Miller with Cornell Cooperative Extension has some tips to keep everyone safe.As spring rolls into Central New York country roads become busy with not only farm machinery, but people camping, fishing and just getting away for some fresh air.  That's why it's important to be prepared when driving on rural roads.

For machinery operators:

Make sure equipment has the proper lighting and signage including two headlights:

  • at least one tail lamp, mounted on the left side facing the rear of the tractor
  • at least two amber warning lights, visible from front and rear, mounted at the same level at least 42 inches above ground level
  • at least two red reflectors, visible from the rear and mounted on either side
  • amber warning extremity lights, visible from front and rear, mounted over dual- or triple-wheeled vehicles
  • the Speed Identification Symbol (SIS) on high-speed tractors and equipment

Also make sure your Slow Moving Vehicle Sign is properly displayed.  It should be mounted point up, two to six feet above the ground and as near to the rear center as possible.  Other tips include locking brake pedals, adjusting mirrors for good vision and check tire pressure. Consider using an escort vehicle when possible.

Public Drivers:

  • drive defensively, especially when agricultural equipment is present
  • most common accidents occur when a driver either attempts to pass a slow-moving vehicle, or when a driver doesn’t realize a farmer is turning or stopping
  • decrease speed and approach farm equipment carefully
  • don’t pass farm equipment in no-passing zones.
  • equipment is wider than what is visible from behind, making it difficult to see if there is traffic approaching from the opposite direction
  • follow farm equipment at a safe distance.
  • slow down for sharp curves or when going down a hill

Spring time is also known for poor road conditions, watch for potholes and keep in mind public transportation is travelling 3 or 4 times faster than farm equipment.  And for goodness sake, everyone put down their cell phones.

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