Road safety is often discussed in the context of city driving, where there is a higher density of drivers and pedestrians. Rural road safety should not be overlooked, however, especially because drivers often share the road with farm equipment.
It’s tempting to drive faster than the speed limit when there are few cars on the road. However, this increases the risk of not being able to stop when encountering slow-moving farm equipment, such as a tractor, resulting in a crash. Here in Pennsylvania, farms account for $135 billion of the economy and employ over 500,000 people.
Crashes involving farm equipment cause disruptions for communities and in people’s livelihoods. In 2017, there were 106 crashes involving farm equipment. These resulted in 64 injuries and 5 fatalities.
Planting season has already begun, which means a major increase in farm activity. To address road safety concerns, Gov. Tom Wolf previously issued a proclamation to declare the week of April 8th – 14th as Rural Road Safety Week. This is in addition to the 20-year-old partnership that has existed between various state departments and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau to promote a coexisting relationship between drivers and farmers. Together, these groups host local events to teach young drivers and farmers how to navigate the roads safely and avoid collisions.
At events like those held at Perry County’s Raub Farm and Mills Farm in Thompsontown, state officials teach young drivers how to be safe on the narrow roads in their communities. Extra caution is needed. Drivers should always obey the posted speed limit and be on the lookout for the slow-moving vehicle emblem on vehicles like tractors and horse-drawn buggies – a red triangle with an orange infield. By law, drivers are expected to reduce their speed and allow slow-moving vehicles, those that travel under 25 mph, to reach their destinations.
Michael Smith, executive deputy secretary of the agriculture department, advises drivers to “just be patient,” as these vehicles are rarely on the road for very long. You will need a highly skilled legal professional if you were injured in a car wreck, whether as a farm employee or car driver. If you were injured or lost a loved one, our accident attorneys want to hear from you. Free consultation. No obligation. Contact us today.