Ask a Trooper: Patience must be a priority in harvest season
Published 9:12 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Ask a Trooper by Troy Christianson
Question: I have a rather random, but seasonally appropriate question: With harvest season upon us and with slow-moving farm vehicles/implements on roadways, is it permissible to pass a slow-moving farm implement on Minnesota highways in a delineated no-passing zone? If passing is prohibited, maybe this is something to feature in the Ask a Trooper segment in various media outlets.
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Answer: This is perfect timing going into harvest season. Chances are motorists will encounter slow-moving farm vehicles in the next few months.
Passing in a no-passing zone is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. A motorist must wait until it is legal and safe. In these cases, patience is a must!
From 2016 to 2018, there were seven fatalities and 385 crashes involving at least one farm vehicle in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s crash data. Of the seven fatalities, one was a farm vehicle rider. Of the 154 injuries, 50 were farm vehicle riders.
• Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment. Don’t assume the operator can see you.
• Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.
• Wait for a safe and legal place to pass.
Farm equipment operators should:
• Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
• Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
• Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
• Properly secure your load.
You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota toward zero deaths.
If you have any questions concerning traffic-related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson, Minnesota State Patrol, at 2900 48th St. NW, Rochester, MN 55901-5848; or reach him at Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us.
Troy Christianson is a sergeant with the Minnesota State Patrol.