MOUNT VERNON — With the arrival of the spring planting season, farmers may find it necessary to move large and/or slow-moving equipment on area roads. Farmers and motorists both should be aware of the safety issues involved.
According to the Ohio Highway Patrol and Ohio State Motor Carrier Patrol, it is up to the farmers to comply with any applicable size and weight limits, as well as safety precautions such as slow-moving vehicle signs.
•Comply with all weight limit, load size and licensing requirements, including regulations from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Some things farmers should keep in mind:
•If your load is more than 8 feet, 6 inches wide, you will need flags and a blanket permit.
•Stop for oncoming traffic if you are over the line.
•Traffic will often line up behind a slow-moving vehicle. It is courteous, but not required, to pull over and allow traffic to pass.
•If you are gong to be on roads after dark and there are hills and curves, use lead and follow trucks to warn approaching drivers. Lights should be visible 1,000 feet ahead and 1,000 feet behind the equipment.
•Have proper Slow Moving Vehicle Signs if you are traveling less than 25 miles per hour. Cover the SMV signs if you are moving at more than 25 miles per hour.
•Avoid distractions. CBs and cell phones are distractions and cell phone use is not permitted while driving farm trucks.
As a motorist, there are things you can do to keep the roads safe.
•Pay attention when equipment is coming toward you and slow down. Many people are too preoccupied by things like what they need from the grocery, what time do the kids need to be picked up or what should I make for dinner, to be actively aware of large equipment on the road.
•Be courteous. Pull over and help farmers out by giving them a little room. Most road lanes are about 10 feet in width, but can be narrower. On the other hand, combines are often 13 feet wide, tractors 10 feet and hay wagons 8 feet wide. This leaves very little room for the farmer to steer around your car, mailboxes, culvert pipes or other items frequently found along the road.
•Have patience and pass safely. You are not permitted to pass slow-moving equipment on double yellow lines or on the right. Remember that most equipment is moved only a few miles on the road.
If you have questions, contact the Knox County Farm Services Agency at 740-392-0891 or call the Ohio Farm Bureau for a copy of he “Farmer’s Guide to Truck and Farm Implement Laws and Regulations.”