With the summer season now drawing to a close, farmers in the MD are hustling to harvest their investments off the field. Motorists should expect to see an increase in machinery on the roads, both rural and highways. We ask that you please be mindful of this for the safety of everyone; remember that we all share the roads. Follow a few very important (and simple) Safety Steps:
Exercise extreme caution and do not speed past farm machinery. Plan ahead for the delay that slow-moving vehicles will likely cause.
Pass with care
If a farmer has moved to the left to allow for passing or you need to do so, first assess the risks. Never pass on a hill, curves, or in any situation that would block your view of oncoming vehicles. Farmers will often be towing something behind their machinery that may or may not be visible when approaching.
Remind yourself that you both have a destination in mind; the farmer is not intentionally trying slowing you down.
Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV)
The orange triangular SMV emblem warns motorists of a vehicle traveling with a speed of 40km/hour or less. When you see the orange triangle, begin slowing down. Remember that large pieces of equipment can't stop as quickly as your vehicle can. Some farm machinery may not display the orange triangle; be mindful that all farm machinery travels slowly and you are expected to do the same.
Watch for flashing lights
Most farm machinery has lights on the top of the equipment, however not necessarily all.
Never assume that a farmer knows you are near their machinery. Farmers are often concentrating on other tasks at hand like keeping their equipment on the road. Please proceed with caution as the farmer may not be able to hear or see you.
Yield to wide vehicles
Some farm vehicles, such as combines, may be wider than the road they're traveling on. If you encounter large farm machinery, please consider an approach that would allow the equipment to pass.
Defensive driving will play a crucial role in keeping everyone safe. When driving down a rural road during harvest time, expect to encounter a larger piece of machinery. Please be extra cautious and courteous to your fellow residents.