SHARING THE ROAD WITH SMV'S
You're driving along a rural road and come around the curve or over the hill and suddenly realize that there is a slow-moving vehicle just in front of you. It takes a split-second reaction to slam on the brakes and avoid a collision.
Approximately 47 percent of all deaths resulting from unintentional injuries are caused by motor vehicles. Each year, collisions involving motor vehicles and farm vehicles contribute to this statistic.
As farmers head back out to the fields, you are likely to drive up behind a slow-moving vehicle. The National Safety Council has outlined some defensive driving steps to help you avoid being involved in one of these accidents.
The most common accident occurs when motorists try to pass farm vehicles turning left. The tractor may appear to be pulling to the right side of the road to let cars pass but is really preparing to make a wide left turn. Check the left side of the road for anyplace a farm vehicle might turn, such as gates or driveways. Also, watch closely for hand and light signals.
Patience is one of the best ways to avoid a collision. Even if you have to follow a tractor for two miles at 20 miles per hour, it only takes six minutes of your time. That's about the same as waiting for two red lights in town. When you find yourself behind a slow-moving vehicle, wait until you can safely pass.
Due to the large difference in speed, it's common for a motor vehicle to run into the rear end of a piece of farm equipment. It can be difficult to judge traffic speed from a distance, so you should slow down as soon as you see a tractor or a slow-moving vehicle emblem (an orange triangle outlined in red). Even if you are following a slow-moving vehicle from a distance, you're closing the safety distance between the two of you at an average rate of about 59 feet per second.
Lookout for farm vehicles and practice safety while driving. Remember to slow down, keep your eyes on the road and wait until it is safe to pass.