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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

November 9, 2022 - 8:30am --

In Wayne County and many other counties in Ohio we are starting to notice lots of farming equipment on the road which means harvest is in full swing for many farmers in Wayne County, and I figured now would be a good time to go over some farming safety tips for farm machine operators and for motorists when they share the road.

Here are a few tips for motorists when you are traveling on the roads during harvest. Most farm equipment speed is between 25-40 mph, therefore when you come across machinery on the road the first thing you should do is slow down. One warning for drivers is to look for a slow-moving vehicle emblem on the equipment and commonly you will see flashing lights. This will let you know that the equipment is not going the normal speed of a car. Please give farm equipment plenty of room to operate. They need extra space to make left and right turns. When they go to make a left turn, they will often swing the machine to the right and when they make a right turn, they will swing out to the left. This extra space allows them to make the turn without hitting any objects. In this case slow down and wait until the driver has completed the turn. When they are traveling on a narrow road, they sometimes need to be in both lanes so if you get into a situation like that pull as far over as you can onto the side of the road, so they are able to pass safely. Do not pull out in front of farm equipment. Tractors and trailers weigh a lot, so they are not able to stop as quickly if you suddenly stop and turn.

When passing farm equipment, it is always very risky. One saying is “if you can’t see them, they can’t see you.” If you notice the machine, you have been following is starting to slow down, they are most likely preparing to turn into a field or pulling over to allow you to safely pass. When you go to pass and before you enter the oncoming lane of traffic make sure you can clearly see in front of you. Do not pass if there are incoming hills or curves or if you are on a hill or curve. If you are in a no passing zone do not pass until you are in a passing zone. Remember two double yellow lines is a no pass zone. According to the Ohio Revised Code you should not pass if you are within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad crossing or bridge.

The following statistic was taken from Country Life in a 2021 article. Fatalities from tractors and machinery are Ohio’s most serious concern. Together, these two categories account for nearly 60% of Ohio farm deaths. Of the tractor-related casualities, rollovers are the predominate factor (53%), followed by runovers (22%), roadway collisions (14%), PTO and other factors (11%).

Accidents happen and they can happen anytime to anyone. It is very important to know how to safely travel on the roads when sharing them with farm equipment. Please remember the person in the tractor is not trying to ruin your day by driving so slowly. If you get stuck behind a tractor, try, and think about the positives- enjoy the color of the leaves, roll down your windows and enjoy the cooler air or watch the herd of cattle enjoying the last of the green grass.  

                As of October 30, 2022, 56 percent of corn has been harvested, soybeans harvested is at 87 percent, winter wheat planted is at 93 percent and winter wheat emerged is at 57 percent. This data was taken from the Ohio’s County Journal Crop Progress Update.

Please remember: the person in the tractor is not trying to ruin your day by driving so slowly. If you get stuck behind a tractor, try and think about the positives - enjoy the color of the leaves, roll down your windows and enjoy the cooler air, or watch the cattle enjoying the last of the grass.

Shelby Tedrow is a Program Assistant for ANR and 4-H Youth Development with the OSU Extension Office and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or

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This article was previously published in The Daily Record.