It's officially harvest season and motorists may encounter large, slow-moving farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reminds motorists that farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line. They also can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles.

“Harvest season is in full swing and farmers in every corner of the state are out using the highways,” said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads now through November. Also, remain patient, as most farmers will try to allow vehicles to pass them in an area where it is safe to do so.”

Sadly, 14 people have died on Minnesota roads in the last five years due to a crash involving farm equipment, while an additional 29 suffered life-changing injuries.

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MnDOT offers some helpful tips for both motorists and farm equipment operators:

Motorists 

  • Watch for falling debris or debris in the road.
  • Don’t veer for debris, it could result in a head-on collision or a driver going into a ditch.
  • Wait for a safe opportunity to pass. Farm equipment operators often make wide left turns, which can indicate to a motorist that the operator is moving right and it is safe to pass.
  • Wear seat belts.
  • Drive with headlights on at all times.
  • Park the phone and put the distractions away.

Farm Equipment Operators  

  • Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
  • Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
  • Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
  • Wear seat belts.
  • Park the phone and put the distractions away.