September 23, 2010 by USA Post 

Mndot, Minnesota Department of Transportation urges motorists on roads in Minnesota to be aware of the large farm machinery transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants.

“Record harvests are expected this year,” said Sue Groth, state traffic engineer. “This means that farmers will make more trips than usual. Motorists should be prepared to find these slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural roads, two-lane.”

Farm equipment is big and heavy, making it difficult for operators to accelerate, brake and stop. The machines also make wide turns and at times crossing the centerline. In addition, agricultural vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All these factors can cause serious accidents.

In 2009, there were 151 accidents on Minnesota roads with farm equipment, resulting in nine deaths and 78 injured, seven of the injuries were serious, according to the Department of Public Safety.

“The major contributing factor in farm machinery accidents / car accidents are inattention, excessive speed and safe passing,” said Cheri Marti, DPS Office of Traffic Safety Director. “When approaching farm equipment, drivers should reduce speed and exercise caution.”

Drivers are also urged to:

- Beware of waste by trucks hauling sugar beets and other crops and remember, it is safer to stop or drive through the rubble of tack in the opposite direction of the road or cars.

- Wait for a safe place to go.

- Use safety belts.

- Drive with headlights on at all times.

Agricultural equipment operators should:

- Use lights and flashing lights to make a team more visible.

- Use the emblems of slow vehicles in the team travels less than 30 miles per hour.

- Consider using a vehicle tracking when moving the team, especially at night.

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