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Operating Farming Equipment on Public Roads

Updated March 8, 2019 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

In rural communities, it is common to see farm equipment on public roads—especially during the spring and summer harvesting months. As housing developments move into rural areas and the two communities integrate, even more urban residents can expect to share roads with farming equipment.

Tractors, harvesters, and balers are often large and slow-moving, creating dangerous situations when passenger automobiles and commercial delivery trucks attempt to pass these vehicles. Accidents can happen and, unfortunately, tend to be extremely dangerous.

It is difficult to determine fault in a farming equipment accident on public roads. If you are involved in such an accident, the skilled farming accident attorneys at WKW can help you navigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Common Causes of Farm Equipment Road Accidents

According to the National Agriculture Safety Database, common causes of farming equipment accidents on public roads include the following:

  • Slow-moving farm machinery
  • Long distances between farms and fields
  • Large farm equipment or equipment transporting wide loads that extend into other lanes
  • Poor visibility (corners, hills, dirty windshields, blind spots, etc.)
  • Outdated or poorly maintained equipment (faulty brakes, bad tires, inoperable turn signals or lights, etc.)
  • Poor road conditions, especially in rural areas (potholes, ditches, wash-outs, etc.)
  • Missing or insufficient warning signs, flashers, and markings when required by law
  • Young or inexperienced drivers
  • Distracted or unsafe driving

Preventing Accidents on Public Roads

Both passenger vehicle drivers and farming equipment operators are required to follow the rules of the road. Driving carefully increases the safety of all parties.

When operating farming equipment on public roadways, follow this checklist to help prevent accidents:

  • Maintain farming equipment (brakes, lights, signals, steering, etc.)
  • Include all signage, markings, and lights required by law for your type of vehicle (especially slow-moving-vehicle signs)
  • If possible, install warning signs at places where public roads cross your farmland
  • When towing equipment, ensure it is secure by using safety chains
  • Stop and look both directions before entering or leaving a roadway
  • Be aware of potentially hazardous road conditions
  • Maintain appropriate speeds and drive slow moving vehicles as far on the right side of the road as possible
  • Avoid driving farming equipment on public roads after dark

Contact a Farming Accident Attorney Today

If you have been injured as a result of a farming accident, you are urged to contact the Indianapolis Farming Accident Attorneys of Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you with the next steps in pursuing a farming accident case. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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