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Safely sharing the road with farm vehicles

As harvest season winds down for the year, you may notice an assortment of agriculture vehicles and food transportation trucks in Lancaster county. Many of these vehicles move slowly or require extra space on the road.

Like any other type of large truck, drivers need to be aware of their presence to avoid a devastating crash. Collisions with large vehicles tend to be highly destructive to drivers and passengers.

Unfortunately, many rural roads where farm vehicles are likely to be are poorly lit. During twilight and early morning commutes, especially as the days get shorter, drivers should use their headlights to improve visibility. It is never safe to assume that farmers will not operate vehicles late at night. Not only will the proper use of high beams and regular headlights help drivers spot farm vehicles, but they can also shine light on roadway obstacles, deer and other cars.

Drivers also need to maintain focus on the road in rural areas – even if there are few other vehicles on the route. On long, straight roads with light traffic, drivers may face temptation to send a text, scroll through their playlists or change the radio station. Regardless of the amount of traffic on the road, drivers cannot allow distractions to cause  an accident in a rural neighborhood. If they do, they may be liable to compensate a hurt farm worker or other passengers in the car.

A common mistake that drivers make when sharing the road with farm equipment occurs when they try to pass a slow-moving vehicle. Impatience can cause drivers to attempt passing in a no-passing zone or make risky maneuvers. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, drivers should slow down upon seeing a slow-moving vehicle emblem to avoid a rear-end crash. Then, they should wait until they are in a passing zone with no oncoming traffic to pass.

Both agricultural and individual drivers have rights and responsibilities on the road. It is important to know the rules of the road before encountering a dangerous situation.

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