Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this spring should be aware of large farm equipment moving from farm to farm, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
“Planting season is ramping up across Minnesota and farmers need the highways to access their fields,” said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.”
According to the last five years of data from 2016 to 2020, there were 532 crashes reported involving farm equipment in Minnesota resulting in 242 injuries and 11 deaths. The 2020 data is preliminary. Inattentive driving and speed were the biggest contributing factors in these crashes.
Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The equipment also makes wide turns and sometimes crosses over the center line. In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles.
•Slow down when approaching farm equipment, then navigate with care and caution.
•Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road.
•Be patient and wait for a safe place to pass.
•Wear seatbelts and minimize distractions.
•Minimize distractions behind the wheel.
•Drive with headlights on at all times.
•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.