Equipment and Rural Roadway Safety
Rural roadways present a number of hazards to not only those operating equipment but also those operating passenger vehicles. In 2022, South Carolina ranked number 1 in the country for deaths on non-interstate, rural roadways. It is estimated that South Carolina’s fatality rate on rural roadways is 4.13 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles of travel.
Below are some tips to keep in mind while traveling on rural roadways.
Remain alert for slow-moving vehicles.
Always watch for vehicles that are marked with slow-moving vehicle signs. When you see one, reduce your speed immediately. If you are operating equipment on roadways, ensure that you have a slow-moving vehicle sign and that it is visible to other drivers on roadways. This sign alerts other drivers to the fact that you are moving at a speed that is less than 25 mph. Never display a slow-moving vehicle sign on equipment that travels at speeds greater than 25 mph.
Always pass with care.
Much like passing a standard passenger vehicle, always pass equipment on roadways with care and caution. Equipment is often longer and wider than the typical passenger vehicle. Because of this, it is important to ensure that there is enough room to pass at a safe speed and distance to not only protect your life but also the life of the person operating the equipment. From an equipment operating point of view, try to only use rural roadways during times that are not busy. Most passenger vehicle-farm equipment collisions occur between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. It is recommended that escort vehicles be used both in front of and behind the equipment that is traveling on roadways.
Ensure that all lights are in working order and brakes are locked.
Oftentimes, rural roadways have very little lighting and poor visibility. When traveling in farm equipment, ensure that all lights are properly working as to remain visible to other passenger vehicles. These lights act as a warning to other drivers to alert them that they are approaching farm equipment that is operating on a roadway. Also, ensure that your left and right brakes are locked before traveling on roadways.