Harvest season underway: watch out for large equipment on roads

Harvest season is upon us and large agricultural equipment will be traveling on public roads.

“It’s important that both producers and motorists do their part to stay safe on the road,” said Ward Keith, vice-president, Business Development and Communications and Chief Administrative Officer, Manitoba Public Insurance.

“Farm equipment is large and slow moving. Producers need to ensure their equipment is properly lit when traveling on the roadway and motorists need to fully aware of their surroundings ─ particularly in rural areas where harvesting is now taking place.”

On average, there are about 20 collisions yearly in Manitoba involving agricultural equipment and passenger vehicles, according to Manitoba Public Insurance.

Farm equipment is required to have a slow-moving vehicle emblem clearly visible to traffic approaching from behind, with red reflectors on the back as close as possible to the left and right sides. At night, farm equipment must have headlights, red tail lamps and flashing amber warning lamps.

“Both farmers and motorists have a responsibility to ensure our highways stay safe,” said Dan Mazier, President of Keystone Agricultural Producers. “That means well-marked equipment on the part of farmers, and approaching farm equipment with caution on the part of motorists.”

While farm machinery needs to be clearly marked, all road users have a responsibility to safely share the road, said Keith. Farm equipment has a maximum speed of 40 km/h so it’s easy for vehicles to approach it much quicker than they anticipate.

“Motorists can also do their part by keeping a safe distance from the larger machines and recognizing their slower speeds, said Keith. “Motorists should be patient when they come upon farm equipment and only pass when it’s safe to do so. We should all share the road safely and respectfully.”

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