Tractor and farm equipment safety on the road

While country music star Kenny Chesney may think it’s fun to be “chuggin’ along” in his tractor — we don’t think it’s so fun being stuck behind it while on the road. The increase in size of farm equipment now allows us little room to see around it.

Some people follow the tractor until it gets to its destination, while others step on the gas and take the risk of passing. Maybe that’s why more than 1,100 farm vehicle-related crashes occur each year in nine Midwest states, resulting in severe or fatal injuries.

A study done by the University of Iowa College’s Great Plains Center for Agricultural Health (GPCAH) found that a large factor in these accidents is the lack of lighting on the farm vehicle.

Although there are specific lighting standards, not all states require them by law. But those states that do enforce them found fewer crashes — 11 percent to be exact. So, what can farmers do to decrease the number of farm vehicle crashes?
  • Light up the tractor with headlights, tail lights, turn signals, and reflectors.
  • Mark the tractor with “slow-moving vehicle” emblems.
  • Use magnetic LED lights for older and newer equipment that may not have sufficient lighting.
  • Don’t forget visibility from the side — use lights and reflective tape to show traffic the size of the load being pulled.
Overall, the study done by students at Iowa estimates crashes would decrease from an annual average of 164 to 65 or 60 percent. So in your next “teeny weenie ride,” Kenny — just light up your tractor for good measure.

For more information about farm safety, visit Prevention Connection, our safety resource page: http://bit.ly/2efoXDs

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