Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Sharing the road with farm equipment

Fall is in the air and that means it is planting and harvesting time for area farmers.  Farming vehicles may be on the roads more this time of year and KDOT would like to remind travelers to travel safely around these important pieces of equipment.

According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, most farm equipment cannot travel at highway speeds and they typically do not exceed 15-25 mph.

Kansans know this scene all too well: The route to and from work may require traveling on smaller state highways or roads and drivers may encounter a large tractor, combine or other farm equipment. 

Perhaps drivers grow frustrated with the situation and just wish it would get out of the way so they can get home.  Unfortunately, the road is curved and hilly. Passing this giant, slow-moving vehicle is unsafe.  

According to transportation laws as long as slow-moving vehicles have the orange triangle signage, they have just as much right to that road as vehicles that can go at a faster speed. 

Farming Equipment is often much larger and wider than other vehicles and the lanes of traffic. When driving around these slow-moving vehicles extra caution should be practiced.

Here are some tips from the KHP for sharing the road with farmers:

  • Don’t assume the farmer knows you’re there. Most operators of farm equipment regularly check for vehicles behind them, however, most of their time must be spent looking ahead to stay on the road and watch for oncoming traffic. Implements are very loud, hindering the farmer’s ability to hear your vehicle. 
  • Pass with extreme caution.  Don’t pass unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the farm equipment you are passing. If there are curves or hills blocking your view of oncoming traffic, wait until you can clearly visualize the area you’re passing in. You should not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone,” even if you are stuck behind a farm vehicle. Do not pass if you are within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevated structure, or tunnel.
  • When a farm vehicle pulls to the right side of the road, it does not mean it is turning right or allowing you to pass. Due to the size of some farm equipment, the farmer must execute wide left turns, so allow it plenty of room and time to turn, and be alert to see if there might be a driveway or field they may be turning into.
  • Be patient. Don’t assume that a farmer can move aside to let you pass. Shoulders may be soft, wet, or steep, which can cause the farm vehicle to tip, or the shoulder may not support the weight of a heavy farm vehicle. The farmer understands you are being delayed and will move over at the first safe location available.
  • Think of the slow moving vehicle emblem as a warning to adjust your speed. When you see the slow moving vehicle emblem, you should immediately slow down. While the emblems are visible from a long distance away, it is often difficult to judge the speed at which you are closing in on a vehicle, especially at night. 
  • Pay attention.  When you are not focused solely on the road, you increase your chances of a collision, especially if you should come upon a slow moving farm vehicle.

Check out this video for more information on how to share the road with other large, slow-moving vehicles safely. 


  1. A few years ago, a friend of mine actually got in an accident because she had assumed that the farmer knew she was there. It was a miracle that she didn't get hurt. It's one of the reasons why I think more people should be reminded of these precaution to take when sharing the road when any type of heavy equipment is being transported.

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  3. I really appreciate the information listed here about how to share the road with local farmers. I sometimes drive down the road and see a farmer on a tractor, so it is good for me to know how to react to that. I always am worried for big truck drivers when they drive on the road with obstructions from the farmers. It could be dangerous! Thanks for the post!