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Fall harvest season brings increased farm equipment movement on roadways

AMES, Iowa – Sept. 5, 2012 – The challenging 2012 growing season is coming to an end in Iowa, meaning motorists will soon be sharing the road with farm vehicles engaged in the harvest. The Iowa Department of Transportation is urging motorists and farm vehicle operators to exercise caution during the movement of slow-moving equipment on Iowa’s roadways.

Data for 2011 shows a total of 198 crashes involved farm equipment. Those crashes resulted in seven fatalities, 15 major injuries, 46 minor injuries and 55 other possible injuries. Of the 198 crashes, 119 resulted in property damage only.

Below are the statistics for 2004 through 2011. The 2011 numbers are subject to change as law enforcement investigations are finalized.

Crashes Involving Farm Equipment/Vehicles and Resulting Fatalities and Injuries for Calendar Years 2004 through 2011

Tips for motorists
Give your full attention to the driving task and watch for slow-moving vehicles. Do not text and drive.

Put additional space between your vehicle and those ahead. At this time of the year, the sun can be blinding to drivers during sunrise and sunset. The added space helps you safely maneuver if there is a sudden stop, turn or a slow-moving vehicle ahead.

Be patient and do not assume the equipment operator can move aside to let you pass. The shoulder may not be able to support a heavy farm vehicle.

Slow down as soon as you see the triangular-shaped, red and fluorescent orange slow-moving vehicle emblem.

Tips for farm vehicle operators
Make your intentions known when you are turning by using signal lights or the appropriate hand signal in advance of the turn.

Drive slow-moving vehicles in the right-hand lane as close to the edge of the roadway as safely possible. Traveling partially on the shoulder may cause motorists to risk passing in a dangerous situation.

Avoid encouraging or signaling motorists to pass. Pull over where it is safe, and let the traffic go by.

Do not get trapped on the tracks; proceed through a highway-rail grade crossing only if you are sure you can completely clear the crossing without stopping. Remember, the train extends 3 feet beyond the tracks on both sides.

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