This Week’s “Dubois Extension Does Farm Road Safety”

Be Aware Of Spring Farm Equipment Safety

By Kenneth J. Eck / Extension Educator / Dubois County



Common sense is key when trying to avoid spring farm equipment accidents.

With the return of spring also comes farm planting season, with farmers well on their way to establishing our local crops. With this return, however, also comes the need for both motorists and farmers to be aware of how to share the road with large farm equipment.

Motorists should use caution when trying to pass large tractors and machinery, especially on busy highways and over blind hills. Large equipment will often have blind spots, making it difficult to see motorists needing to pass.  Use car turn signals or flash lights if trying to let farmers know your intentions before passing, and only pass in safe areas where you can clearly see potential oncoming traffic before passing.

Farmers should assist motorists by following the “three-car rule”, in which Indiana code states that if the operator of any slow moving vehicle has three or more vehicles backed up behind them it is their duty to pull over at the next safe opportunity and allow the motorists to pass.  When possible, avoid busier traffic times and routes to reduce the chances of causing traffic back-ups and potential mishaps.

Insure that all farm machines have required slow moving vehicle emblems correctly mounted three to five feet above the pavement in the center of the load. The emblems should be in good condition, and will help identify the slower equipment. In addition, use or add flashing lights and reflective tape when possible to increase the chances of being seen, especially for night travel.

Limit the number of implements being towed, with a limit of two implements being the norm. Towing more than two implements often opens the chance for accidents and roll-overs, especially around curves, and limits the operator’s ability to maintain safe control of their machinery.

For new employees or younger family members moving equipment, make sure they are trained in road travel and fully understand safe rules of the road for moving machines between farms. Where possible allow more experienced operators to transport implements on busier highways or more dangerous county roads.

For extremely large equipment consider a support vehicle to travel in front of the machinery. Support vehicles can be used to scout dangerous hills or curves during transport while letting motorists know of potential traffic challenges.

By taking these few simple steps and slowing down on our local roads, we can all have a safer trip this spring!

If you would like more information, please contact Purdue Extension Dubois County Office at 812-482-1782 or


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