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Morgan Watts column: Always share the road with your farmer 

By Morgan Watts
N.C. Cooperative Extension

You may have read this article in the past; I try to submit this article annually as a reminder to share the road. With planting season in full swing in the county, now is a good time to remember to slow down and share the road.

Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries. We need to realize how important it is to share the road with the very people who provide our food and give back so much to our communities. We need to do everything we can to help keep our farmers safe on the roadway, whether that means slowing down at times or being more cautious and attentive when driving. I have already heard about several accidents in North Carolina on the road involving farm equipment this year, some including fatalities.

Below are some helpful tips to keep in mind when driving around.

  • Know that a slow-moving vehicle symbol (orange triangle) indicates that the farm equipment is traveling under 25 mph and it is a warning to slow down.
  • When passing farm machinery, proceed with caution by watching vehicles behind you that may also be trying to pass, and never pass if there are curves or hills.
  • Do not assume that if a farmer pulls to the right side of the road that they are turning right or letting you pass because the size of farm equipment sometimes requires the farmer to pull to the right side to safely make a left turn.
  • If you are driving in the opposite direction of farm equipment that is wider than the lane, you should pull off the road and stop to allow the machine to pass.

Two of the most common types of farm-related accidents with motorists are when an approaching motorist hits a farm vehicle from behind or when a passing motorist hits a farm vehicle that is attempting to make a wide left turn. Accidents involving a farm vehicle are five times as likely to produce a fatality than other types of traffic accidents.

So, keep in mind this spring and summer when you are heading to cookouts, vacations or those afternoon rides down the back road, to watch out for the farmers and share the road.

If you have any questions or want to discuss this topic, feel free to call Morgan Watts at 704-216-8970 or stop by the office at 2727-A Old Concord Road in Salisbury.

Morgan Watts is the livestock and field crops agent with the N.C. Cooperative Extension.

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