By MATT PIKE
St. Joseph Post
Farmers are out in the fields harvesting their crops, and that means they are also out on the roadways and drivers should be aware of these slow-moving vehicles.
MoDOT Assistant State Traffic Engineer Jon Nelson says the biggest thing to watch for with these farm vehicles, is that they are going to be slow moving.
"So, when people encounter them or come up on them in the roadway there's a couple things that can happen, one is just that large speed differential and you're going to close that gap a lot sooner than you realize," Nelson tells KFEQ/St. Joseph Post. "So, whenever you see those larger pieces of equipment that should be an early sign to brake early and give yourself plenty of room."
Nelson says the other issue that is frequent is driver frustration in getting stuck behind slow-moving vehicles.
Nelson says it's important to stay patient when driving behind farm vehicles, and to remember also,
"They're doing the work that they need to do to help put food on our tables, get stuff to the grocery store, the things that they do for a living just like everyone else does for a living," Nelson explains. "And so, I think just being patient but also considerate that this is somebody out there doing their job, much like if you were going to pass a first responder on the side of the road or a highway worker."
Nelson says when driving behind a farm vehicle its best to stay patient and wait for the best opportunity to pass to avoid traffic accidents.
Nelson says while he doesn't know if the overall number of traffic crashes is higher during harvest, the number of crashes involving farm vehicles does increase. Nelson says it's a good reminder to drivers.
"Some of those habits we encourage throughout the year like driving the appropriate speed, always putting the cell phone down while you're driving, never driving impaired, those same things apply to this time of year," Nelson says. "Particularly the cell phone, the one way to miss a large piece of farm equipment in front of you is to be looking at your cell phone when you shouldn't be."
Nelson encourages drivers to stay aware of slow-moving farm vehicles leaving and entering the fields and says drivers should be absolutely sure it's safe before attempting to pass a farm vehicle.