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See a Tractor?

Slow Down.

Rural roads carry less than half of America’s traffic yet they account for over half of the nation’s vehicular deaths. There are many factors that contribute to this but the fact remains that rural roads pose a unique set of risks to travelers, including farm vehicle operators.

From 2015-2019, there were more than 1,000 accidents on North Carolina roads involving farm vehicles, tractors, and equipment – that’s more than 200 every year. These accidents tend to happen in large farming communities, suburban areas, and on high speed roadways where passenger vehicles and farm vehicles share the road.

Studies have found that 82% of farm equipment crashes involve a non-farm vehicle. Roadway collisions are extremely dangerous for tractor operators, but these accidents are also deadly for non-farm vehicles. In fact, fatalities are FIVE TIMES more likely in accidents involving farm vehicles. This fall, let’s all get home safely. If you see a tractor, please be patient and slow down.

Facts about Tractor Safety on the Road

  • From 2015-2019, there were more than 1,000 accidents on North Carolina roads involving farm vehicles, tractors, and equipment – that’s more than 200 every year.
  • During that time, the top five North Carolina counties for farm vehicle accidents were Wake (40), Guilford (33), Johnston (33), Sampson (33), and Wayne (33).
  • Studies have found that 82% of farm equipment crashes involve a non-farm vehicle.
  • Fatalities are FIVE TIMES more likely in accidents involving farm vehicles.
  • Many farm vehicles travel less than twenty-five miles per hour. A car traveling sixty-five miles per hour would close a gap the size of a football field in less than five seconds.
  • Rural roads carry less than half of America’s traffic yet they account for over half of the nation’s vehicular deaths.
  • A car traveling at 70 miles per hour requires almost 400 feet of total stopping distance, and about 750 feet in wet conditions. That’s why it’s important for drivers to stay alert to improve reaction time.
  • Reacting just one second earlier reduces your stopping distance by more than 100 feet when traveling at 70 miles per hour. That’s more than the length of a basketball court.
  • Left turns are especially dangerous for farm vehicles – in fact the most common types of collisions involving farm vehicles are side swipes and angle crashes. These types of crashes typically occur while farm equipment is turning left and another vehicle attempts to pass.
  • Many farm vehicles make wide left turns, which makes it look like they are turning right or pulling off to allow following cars to pass. Do not make this mistake! Never pass a farm vehicle unless you are absolutely certain it is safe and legal to do so.
  • Many tractor operators will signal a left-hand turn by hand, which may look like an invitation to pass. Bottom line: never pass farm vehicles in a no-passing zone.
  • Tractor operators need to know you are there – for your safety and for theirs. If you follow too closely, they can’t see you. So let them know you are there by staying back at least two car lengths.
  • We get it. Driving 20 miles per hour isn’t ideal. But reducing your speed from 65 to 20 miles per hour for one mile only delays you about 2 minutes!

About National Farm Safety and Health Week

The 2018 data for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the agricultural sector is still one of the most dangerous in America with 574 fatalities, or an equivalent of 23.4 deaths per 100,000 workers. Fall harvest time can be one of the busiest and most dangerous seasons of the year for the agriculture industry. For this reason, the third week of September has been recognized as National Farm Safety and Health Week. This annual promotion initiated by the National Safety Council has been proclaimed as such by each sitting U.S. President since Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944. National Farm Safety and Health Week is led by the National Education Center for Agricultural Safety (NECAS), the agricultural partner of the National Safety Council.

The theme for National Farm Safety and Health Week 2020 is “Every Farmer Counts”. The theme is to acknowledge, celebrate, and uplift America’s farmers and ranchers who have encountered many challenges over the past couple of years, yet continue to work hard to provide the food, fiber, and fuel that we need. According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, there are about 3.4 million agricultural producers in America, which is only about one percent of our population. These farmers and ranchers not only provide the essentials that we need, but they do wonderful things for their families and friends, their communities, and beyond. That is why “Every Farmer Counts” and now is the time to prioritize their safety and health.

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