Accidents a reminder that we share roads

Published 10:51 am Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Two accidents involving tractors on Hwy. 84 in one week are reminders that cars and trucks also share the roads with farm equipment — especially in rural parts of the county.

Spring’s arrival will mean more tractors on roadways as farmers prepare fields and plant crops. Though tractors have added safety features in recent years, they are still not as safe as passenger vehicles.

“Crashes result when vehicles round a turn or top a hill and cannot stop in time, or when they attempt to pass slow-moving or turning equipment,” according to the National Ag Safety Database.

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In both of the Hwy. 84 accidents, vehicles hit the rear of the tractors.

Those collisions are especially dangerous for tractor operators as they have little or no protections during a crash.  Older tractors may not have rollover structures and some lack seatbelts as well. Those safety measures can be retrofitted to older tractors, but many farmers don’t see the need, especially if their tractors rarely travel on a highway.

It’s up to those of us traveling in passenger vehicles to be on the lookout for tractors. Most will have some sort of brightly-colored emblem on the rear, as well as flashers and lights. But some may not. Being aware that slow-moving tractors could be present on a highway will reduce your chance of rear-ending one.

Tractor operators should also follow safety rules such as driving in the right lane; using lights, flashers and signage; and signaling for turns in plenty of time.