TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV)– Brad Burbrink at BE N AG Farms said he’s never been in a crash with a driver while traveling from one field to the next. But he’s had some close calls.
“It’s one of those you come over a hill and all of a sudden there’s a car flying at you. You yank the steering wheel and try to get over but sometimes on those blinding hills or places that are hard to see. Sometimes it comes quick and you just have to thank God that nothing happened,” Burbrink explained.
According to Sgt. Matt Ames, public information officer for Indiana State Police, there are 1,000 crashes per year in the United States involving farm equipment and motorists. He said in most cases the cause of the crash comes down to two factors.
“Out of those 75 percent of those result in someone going to the hospital. The contributing factors are people need to drive with more patience and people need to make sure they’re not driving while distracted,” Ames said.
In the state of Indiana, farmers traveling on the roadways also have rules to follow, including activating their caution lights and having their “slow moving vehicle” signs attached to the equipment.
“Indiana does have what is called the ‘Slow Poke law.’ That states that if the farm vehicle is going down the road way and they have more than three vehicles behind them, trying to get around, the next available place that the farm equipment can pull over, the farmer needs to pull over and allow the vehicles to get around them safely,” Ames said. “But it is the responsibility of the farmer to make sure it’s a safe location for the motorist to get around them”
So if you happen to unexpectedly come upon a farmer traveling to the next field, here’s some things you should keep in mind.
“When you do see a piece of farm equipment going down the road.. immediately start to slow down. Start looking for avenues for you to get around that car safely that’s safe for the farmers and that’s safe for you. The most important thing is to please share the road and drive with patience,” Sgt. Ames concluded.
Sgt. Ames also advised that farmers check to make sure that all of their signals work properly and are free from all debris.