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Farm equipment on the rise during harvest season in Missouri
Missouri Ag Connection - 09/25/2023

Harvest season is underway, and with it comes an increase in farm equipment on area roads. Drivers are urged to be aware of slow-moving vehicles and to have patience during this time.

Tim Gach of the Buchanan County Farm Bureau said that there will be a lot of farm equipment on the roads during harvest season, and he asked the public to be patient and understand that farmers may not be able to see them behind their grain carts. He also warned that passing farm equipment can be dangerous if the farmer is about to turn into a field.

Farm equipment often has blind spots, so it's important to approach them cautiously. Due to their slow speed, they're also more likely to be involved in collisions with other vehicles.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, there were 177 crashes involving farm equipment in Missouri in 2022. These accidents resulted in seven deaths and 63 injuries.

Sgt. Shane Hux with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said it's important to pass farm vehicles carefully.

"A lot of times farmers will pull over to the right side of the roadway only to make a left turn," Hux said. "That's why it's important for motorists to not only pay attention to the light signals that's on the farm machinery but also hand signals from farmers. Only pass when it's safe and if you have a clear view of the road ahead. Don't pass where it may be a hill, curve or bridges that's blocking your view. It isn't worth your life."

Gach said safety is a two-way street. Farmers must also be vigilant.

"As farmers, we need to be aware of the public on the highways," he said. "Making sure that our assembly signs are visible, they're cleaned off and that we're running our flashers. It also helps if we can have someone running ahead of us or behind us with their hazards on to alert the people that there is farm equipment on the roads. If everyone gets along, everything goes fine."

Missouri state troopers said the public should also be aware that farmers may be commuting during different times of the day and may be on the roads late at night, making visibility difficult for everyone.

By being aware of the increased farm equipment on the roads during harvest season, drivers can help to keep themselves and others safe.

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