Fall is in the air! The trees are beautiful. Many of us are headed out on the roads to view the spectacular foliage and enjoy the pumpkin picking, fall festivals and the wonderful days of autumn filled unique sights and smells of the season.
In Mid-Missouri, harvest time is also in full swing and more motorists will be encountering farm equipment on rural roads, unfortunately increasing the potential for accidents. Road safety is especially important this time of year. Vehicle collisions between slower-moving farm equipment and passenger cars and trucks often result serious collisions with tragic consequences.
At Tatlow, Gump, Faiella & Wheelan, we have represented many injured clients and their families who have been injured in farm equipment collisions. Some of those injuries could have been prevented with some prior planning and more awareness of the potential hazards during this busy season. As a reminder, please keep in mind some of these safety tips:
Farm machinery is often moving slower than it might first appear, often at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less. If you see farm equipment on the road, slow down immediately to avoid collisions.
Farm machinery operators may not be able to see you because of the size of their equipment or the load that they are carrying. Remember, if you can’t see the driver, they probably can’t see you.
Extra-wide farm equipment may take up more than one lane to avoid hitting obstacles such as mailboxes and road signs. Be aware and be prepared to move as far to the right as possible when meeting a large piece of machinery.
Check before you pass. Make sure the machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or had signals. If the machinery slows and pulls toward the right side of the road, the operator may be preparing to make a wide left turn.
Listen for cars. Vehicles may approach rapidly from the rear. They are often driving much faster than the speed of the farm equipment.
Keep a constant lookout for pedestrians, animals, mailboxes, steep ditch embankments and other roadway obstacles.
Consider using an escort vehicle to follow behind.
Be cognizant of high traffic times, usually mornings and late afternoons. Also be aware of fading daylight hours that make visibility more difficult.
Make sure all warning flashers, lights and slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblems are in proper operating condition and easily visible.
CONCLUSION: Safety must be everyone’s concern. Please be aware and do your part when sharing the road with farm equipment this season.
If you or someone you love is injured in a farming related accident, please trust the experienced lawyers at Tatlow, Gump, Faiella and Wheelan, LLC, to represent you during this difficult time and help you to receive all the compensation you are entitled to under the law.