Clemson Agricultural Safety

Roadway Safety – April 2024

Roadway Safety

Rural roadway with sprayer traveling and multiple vehicles passing in the other lane.

Roadway travel for agricultural equipment is necessary in South Carolina because most fields are farther apart. With fields farther apart than other states, farmers spend a substantial amount of time traveling from field to field, increasing the risk of having a collision on a rural roadway. In South Carolina, 60% of all roadway collisions occur on rural roadways involving passenger vehicles, logging trucks, and agricultural equipment.

Common Hazards on Rural Roadways

  • When slow-moving vehicles are on roadways, rear-end collisions are increased and often result in passenger vehicles passing in dangerous areas. If you are operating a passenger vehicle behind a slow-moving vehicle, remember that they can only reach speeds of 25 mph or less. Approach behind them slowly and only pass if there is a clear lane and you have a clear view of the road ahead.
  • Often, agricultural equipment is wider than the lane. Be mindful of this if you are operating a passenger vehicle and attempt to pass agricultural equipment.
  • Rural roadways are typically poorly lit and can be a hazard to both the operator of the agricultural equipment and passenger vehicles.

Protective Equipment for Agricultural Equipment

  • Slow-moving vehicle sign (only for equipment that will operate on a roadway under 25 mph – not to be used on your golf cart!)
  • Flags for longer loads
  • Working lights and flashers

Driving Agricultural Equipment on Roadways

  • Ensure that all lights/flashers are working. These help you be more visible to passenger vehicles.
  • Follow all traffic laws! When turning, use your turn signals or hand signals if your equipment is not equipped with turn signals, and always travel at a safe speed.
  • If your equipment has ROPS (Roll-Over Protective Structure), wear your seatbelt. This will hold you in the zone of safety if you experience a roll-over while operating your equipment. The seatbelt will also keep you from being ejected from the equipment if you are involved in a rear-end collision.
  • Lock your left and right brakes together to keep you from accidentally only using one and turning off the road unexpectedly.
  • Ensure that your SMV sign is properly displayed to alert other drivers you are moving at a slower speed.
  • If possible, travel on rural roadways when traffic is light with both a lead and follow car to limit contact with passenger vehicles.

Interacting with Agricultural Equipment on Roadways

  • Pass equipment with caution. Equipment is often wider than the lanes and obstructs visibility to pass the equipment.
  • Avoid coming to a sudden stop in front of agricultural equipment as they cannot brake as quickly as a passenger vehicle.
  • Most importantly, be patient with farmers! They are just trying to do their job to supply us with food and fibers that are essential to daily life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *