The Delaware Department of Agriculture and the Delaware Department of Transportation issued a notice on Oct. 20, reminding residents to be aware of farm equipment that may be on roadways during the harvest season. Large tractors, trailers and trucks may be using state roads as they travel between fields or to equipment staging areas.
DelDOT notes that farmers are legally allowed to operate equipment on roadways. However, they may not always be able to pull off the road in order to let other vehicles pass. Slick or steep conditions may cause farm equipment to tip over.
Under these circumstances, drivers should also understand that farm equipment operators may not be aware of other vehicles around them. The loud noise associated with farm machinery might prevent drivers from acknowledging cars on the road.
Most farm equipment is designed to operate up to speeds of 25 miles per hour. This means if motorists are driving at highway speeds and approaching machinery, it only takes about five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field.
Motor vehicle operators should not pass farm equipment users without signaling beforehand with their horn. In “No Passing Zones,” drivers cannot pass farm machinery operators under any conditions.
Farmers who intend to use their equipment on main roadways this harvest season must use a slow moving vehicle reflector triangle when driving less than 25 miles per hour. For additional safety, machinery should also be marked with reflective tape around the edges and headlights should be on to increase visibility.