Harvest is either underway or just on the horizon for many farmers in the province – and that means drivers may be seeing more farm equipment on Saskatchewan highways in the coming weeks.
Although collisions with farm equipment are rare, now is the time of year that they are most likely to happen.
Yes, you may be hitting the road to make the most of these last few weeks of warm and sunny weather. While many of us are enjoying summer, our agricultural producers are working hard to get their crops off the field. The work farmers do puts food on our tables and contributes to the provincial economy. And they need everyone’s help to keep safe.
Some things to keep in mind when driving around farm equipment:
Be patient – farm equipment is very slow-moving. If you find yourself behind a big piece of machinery – be patient, and pass when it is safe to do so.
Again, be patient – Farmers are usually only transporting their machinery from one field to another, so they won’t be on the road for long. Even if you don’t get an opportunity to pass safely, you won’t be behind them for a long distance
Give yourself some space – farm equipment can be wider or longer than sometimes expected. Make sure to give yourself plenty of room to pass and pull back into the lane safely.
And give the farmer some space too – The operator of the farm equipment has plenty of blind spots, and may not be able to see you if you’re following too closely behind or cut in front of them. When everyone can see each other on the road, we’re all safer.
Stay alert – Depending on the farm equipment, the farmer may not be able to signal their intent to turn or slow down. Anticipate sudden movements, and keep your focus on the road.
Bonus tip: Farmers will also take steps to ensure their safety and yours. Equipment that travels slower than 40 km/h, must be equipped with a rear/center slow-moving-vehicle sign, and machinery that extends more than 1.2 meters should be equipped with reflective devices to alert drivers.