Sharing the road with farm equipment

Local News

HARTFORD, S.D. (KELO) — Tractors, combines and semis are becoming a common sight on our public roads with the start of fall harvest. It’s important to remember to practice safe driving around large equipment.

During the fall harvest, you’ll often find Adam Mohrhauser driving his equipment on the road, moving from field-to-field or hauling grain.

“I enjoy doing it, but when you get out on public roads it can be a little challenging sometimes,” said Mohrhauser. “Some of the roads can be a little narrower, some of them are really nice and wide. Understand the combine is probably 15 foot wide and you’re driving in a 12-foot driving lane, so it can be a little challenging a times.”

On public roads, the equipment is slow moving, traveling at about 20 to 25 miles per hour.

“Just be patient. Usually, typically we don’t have very far to go, you know, just a couple miles,” Mohrhauser said. “We know where we’re going, you probably don’t know where we’re going, so just kind of be patient and just watch for our turning signals and brake lights and stuff like that.”

“Obviously, the farm equipment, the larger semis, not on the interstate but the county highways, state highways, even the gravel roads, they are going to be traveling slower than the normal traffic, you gain ground on them quicker, and you just need to have your eyes on them so you can react to them on the roadway,” said Jeremy Gacke, Highway Patrol Trooper.

Farmers also needs to take steps to keep everyone safe on the road.

“When you come to an intersection and you’re going to make a turn, just make sure that you have plenty of time and room to make that turn before you are impacting the other traffic that’s already on the roadway,” Gacke said.

“I like to make sure I don’t have too many people behind me. I also like to find the safest route, the easiest one where there is less congestion to get to where we need to go to the fields and stuff,” Mohrhauser said. “I do like to make sure I have my hazards working on the combine, make sure people can see me.”

The highway patrol does see an increase in farm equipment related crashes during the fall harvest and spring planting seasons.

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