As the seasons change and the colder temperatures finally give way to spring-like warmth, the farming season begins in earnest.  And while cattle and livestock farmers really know no "season", those who plant crops tend to get a little busier this time of year.

According to Brian Sorenson - the State Traffic Engineer:

Planting season is ramping up across Minnesota and farmers need the highways to access their fields.  Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.

Over the last three years of data collected by MNDOT, there were 386 crashes that involved farm equipment in Minnesota - resulting in 166 injuries and six deaths.  MNDOT days that speed and inattentive driving were the two biggest contributing factors.

At issue is the large and heavy nature of farm equipment making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down, or stop.  The equipment also makes wide turns and sometimes crosses the center line.  To stay safe and help prevent an accident, here are MNDOT's recommendations and reminders:

  • Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment
  • Watch for debris dropped by trucks
  • Wait for a safe place to pass
  • Wear seatbelts
  • Drive with headlights on at all times

Additionally, farm equipment operators should:

  • Use lights and flashers to make their 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