Are you prepared for the spring work rush?
It’s time for spring! When the temperature gets warm and daylight hours increase, so does the spring field work and farm vehicle traffic.
As producers start working more in the fields, we should all be cognizant of the fact that farm equipment will be back on the roads in full force in very short order. Even if you’re a dairy farmer, it’s important to remember to be patient while sharing the road with equipment when you’re in your vehicle! Here are three reminders that the Cargill dairy team will be telling themselves as they go into this busy season.
Practice patience. Being in a rush and taking the risk of passing slow moving equipment in a non-passing zone isn’t worth it. That SMV symbol (one foot tall orange triangle) on the back of the tractor is there for a reason. We need to slow down the minute we see that sign. Some of the newer signs can be seen up to 1,200 feet, which is plenty of time for us to slow down when approaching said vehicle.
Most tractors only travel up to 25 mph. If you are traveling at 55 mph, that closing distance and speed only gives about 4 seconds of reaction time. By the time you react and touch the brake pedal, it most likely even less. According to the National Safety Council, roadway collisions involving farm vehicles total over 15,000 accidents a year. Even if you are practicing safe driving, that doesn’t mean all drivers are. If they are driving distracted at the wheel, are you prepared to avoid a collision in that situation?
Leave a safe distance between your vehicle and the equipment in front of you. This is four to six seconds on dry roads in good weather, and seven to ten seconds in unideal conditions, like when it’s raining or snowing. If you do pass equipment, do so with extreme care and only when it is legal to do so. Do NOT attempt to pass when going uphill, around corners or curves and when approaching railroad crossings or nearing intersections, bridges or tunnels. Never assume the SMV driver can see you or that they are able to move over to let you pass to avoid a collision.
Make a promise to yourself to be safe when traveling in our sales areas all year, and extra cautious during the rush of spring season.