As July turns into August, Canadian farmers will be working long hours in the fields harvesting their crops. This means there will be slow-moving farm machinery on Manitoba’s roadways, which can create a hazard for both farm equipment operators and motorists.
“During this time of year, motorists and farm equipment operators often find themselves sharing the road,” says Glen Blahey, Health and Safety Specialist with the Canadian Agricultural Safety Association. “The key to road safety is mutual respect between motorists and farm equipment operators. Motorists need to pay special attention to the larger and slower farm machinery, and farm equipment operators need to respect motorists’ rights to quick and safe travel.”
“While slow-moving machinery does create some additional obstacles on the roadway this time of year, the same safety rules apply,” said Inspector Joanne Keeping, Officer in Charge of Traffic Services. “Slow down, drive sober, be alert, buckle up.”
The most common circumstances of a collision involving farm equipment are left-turn collisions, rear-end collisions and passing collisions. Left turns can be particularly hazardous because often, motorists think the equipment operator is pulling over to allow the vehicle to pass, but the operator is actually making a wide left turn.
The Canadian Agricultural Safety Association and the RCMP have some tips to help keep everyone safe on the road:
· Slow down! The roadways are busy this summer. Be aware of slow-moving vehicles when travelling in agricultural areas. Farm machinery moves significantly slower than other traffic. The typical speed of a piece of farm machinery is approximately 30-40 kilometres an hour. If motorists slow down, they will have time to react
· Watch for the slow-moving vehicle sign. It is a bright orange triangle with a red border. The sign is to be mounted at the centre or to the left of centre on all slow-moving farm vehicles and equipment. If you see the sign, be aware the vehicle will be moving at a slow rate of speed and adjust your actions accordingly. At night, farm equipment is brightly lit with both flashing and driving lights. This is an indication for motorists to slow down and exercise caution.
· Farm machinery is large and operators may not be able to see vehicles immediately behind them. Motorists need to be aware that they might not be visible to the farm equipment operator and should maintain proper distances.
· Farm machinery operators are to stay on the roadway when possible. For extra-wide machinery, sometimes the operators have to use the shoulder of the road to not impede oncoming traffic. Motorists should be aware that farm machinery operators may have to make sudden stops or take evasive action to avoid hazards on the shoulder
· Both farm machinery operators and motorists need to be aware at intersections, especially on rural roadways where farm equipment may be turning from or onto approaches and farm lanes
Above all, motorists and farm equipment operators need to respect each other and the rules of the road. If everyone works together, we can all get home safely.
Constable Paul Human
RCMP Media Relations 204-983-8497
www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/mb Twitter @rcmpmb | @GRCManitoba http://www.facebook.com/rcmpmb | https://www.facebook.com/GRCManitoba
Robin Anderson, Communications Officer
Canadian Agricultural Safety Association