By Sgt. Troy Christianson
Question: Now that spring if finally here, I am seeing a lot of tractors, sprayers and other large equipment on the highways. A number of them didn’t appear to be using their flashing lights, slow moving signs and escort when required. I am concerned this could cause a bad crash. Can you write about this in your “Ask a Trooper” column?
Answer: Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways need to be aware of large farm equipment as there is a lot of field activity, and everyone needs to do their part in sharing the road. Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line. In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes.
Farm equipment may be driven or towed to the left of the center of a roadway only if it is escorted at the front by a vehicle displaying hazard warning lights visible in normal sunlight. The equipment also must not extend into the left half of the roadway more than is necessary.
Farm equipment operators should
• Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
• Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
• Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
• Properly secure your load.
• Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment. Don’t assume the operator can see you.
• Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.
• Wait for a safe and legal place to pass.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester, Minn. 55901-5848. Or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.