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When you drive up on Farmer Joe as he's driving his tractor down the highway at 20 mph, do you:

A. Ride his back bumper, hands thrown in the air;

B. Lay on your horn until he pulls over;

C. Blow past him while shaking your fist at him in anger;

D. Patiently wait and cautiously passing only when it's safe?

We hope you choose the latter. This fall, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety is reminding motorists to be on the lookout for slow-moving farm vehicles.

To do their jobs during harvest season, farmers often need to move their equipment from field to field and from field to silo.

So your patience as a motorist is required. If they don't pull over for you, you can drive carefully around them.

The coalition warns non-farm motorists may not immediately recognize farm equipment on roadways or be aware of the special hazards they present. Lighting and reflector locations on tractors, combines and other farm equipment are different from other motor vehicles. Loads on farm vehicles may be wider than other vehicles, which present special hazards for other motorists when left, right, rear and front projections are not easily recognizable.

The most common collisions occur when the approaching motorist hits a farm vehicle from behind (rear-end collision), or when a passing motorist hits a farm vehicle that is attempting to make a wide left turn (left sideswipe).

The coalition recommends these simple tips when driving around slow-moving farm machinery:

Be mindful it's harvest season and keep an eye out for machinery.

Be patient and remember farmers are just doing their jobs.

Be aware loads on farm vehicles may be wider than other vehicles, which present unique conditions for other motorists.

Always pass on the left and only when you have clear sight distance.

Always wear your seat belt. It's your best defense in any traffic crash.

Keep your full attention on the road and put your cellphone down.

Be attentive and cautious this harvest season, and be patient: The people driving that farm equipment are likely contributing toward putting food on your table.

News Tribune

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