We all need to be careful and patient as we share the roads with our farming community. There will be large equipment traveling on highways and secondary roads, as local farmers take care of their crops and livestock. Many farmers in our area tend land several miles from their main farming operation, and we will have to share the road with local citizens.
Most farm equipment is transported at 25 mph or slower while other automobiles are traveling at speeds more than twice as fast. The difference in speed causes motorist to miscalculate how fast they are approaching farm equipment. In many cases motorist are traveling too fast and never see the farm equipment until it is too late. If an automobile runs into farm equipment, the driver could sustain serious injuries or death.
Farm equipment is large and may be as wide as the road. Some equipment may be as wide as 18 feet. Farm equipment is very heavy and might weigh more than 10 times as much as your vehicle. Farm equipment cannot travel any faster than 20 to 25 mph because of the handling. Farm equipment drivers are already challenged with a difficult handling machine and avoiding hitting objects on the side of the road, they don’t need to worry about aggressive drivers.
Most farm equipment accidents occur between the hours of 3 to 6 pm. In most cases the automobile drivers are leaving work and are traveling too fast. Local farmers try their best to travel on the roads when the traffic is light. They also make a point to avoid busy roads, but there are times that they have to travel on busy roads during high traffic hours.
Sampson County is the second largest agricultural county in the state of North Carolina. Farming and agribusiness is the largest industry in our county. Farmers have been trained on highway safety; it is the general population that often cause accidents. When you see farm equipment, please slow down and be patient.
Eileen Coite is county extension director and can be reached at 910-592-7161.