Campaign built to raise awareness for farm vehicle safety on roads
SALISBURY, Md. — It only takes eight seconds to close a gap the length of a football field when traveling 30 miles per hour more than the slow-moving vehicle in front of you.
As combines, grain carts and trucks take to the fields to harvest fall crops, the risk of accidents on rural roads rises and area farm groups are advocating for safety awareness.
“We’ve had many farmers tell us they had to drive off the road to avoid a vehicle trying to pass them when oncoming vehicles were headed their way,” said Brian Johnson, Maryland Soybean Board chairman and a Somerset County farmer. “Auto crashes involving farm vehicles or equipment can be costly both in terms of property damage and injuries, and in some circumstances, result in fatalities. We want to minimize these occurrences.”
Decreasing the number of dangerous encounters involving motorists and slow-moving vehicles is a goal of the Maryland Soybean Board.
It’s new education initiative, Find Me Driving, reminds drivers of safety measures to take when driving or driving near a slow moving vehicle.
This education campaign is one strategy from the MSB-funded road safety study, which provided insight into causes of accidents and recommendations for improved safety.
The research showed accidents frequently involved more than just farm equipment, and education about all SMV vehicles was needed.
The number of farm vehicle crashes grows each year.
Not surprisingly, they most frequently occur during peak farming season — June through October.
More than 75 percent occurred during daylight hours, with only 16.5 percent occurring in the dark. More than 72 percent occurred in clear weather, while only 9 percent occurred in precipitation — rain, sleet, or snow.
The Find Me Driving campaign has been launched with a contest to name its character created from the SMV emblem — which features a bold orange triangle with a red border sign that is required on all SMVs.
The contest the winner will receive a $100 gasoline gift card. To enter, visit www.findmedriving.com
Slow-moving vehicles, such as farm machinery, animal-drawn vehicles and construction equipment, are identified as traveling at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less, and can pose a serious risk to drivers who are unaccustomed with the measures required to safely travel the roads with them.
“We applaud the work of organizations that share information with drivers to improve road safety,” stated Johnson. “MSB wants to increase the impact of these efforts in improving road safety and reach a full range of stakeholders. We invite anyone interested in making our drives safer to team with us to lower the accident rate on Maryland roads.”
Along with road safety, equipment and grain bin safety is hugely important, the Maryland Grain Producers Association said.
Before adding a new crop, the group said to first ensure the previous crop is loaded out and the floor, ducts, and fans are cleaned.
As the new crop is put in the bin, use the lock out/tag out system to prevent engulfment.
Be mindful around operating power take-off shafts and look over equipment for dust build-up, bird nests, and other fire hazards.
It is recommended to have a 10-pound dry chemical, multi-purpose ABC extinguisher in tractors and a 2.5 gallon pressurized water extinguisher in combines.
“2020 has already thrown a handful of curveballs, the last thing any farmer needs right now is to be caught in a dangerous situation,” MGPA said.
1-800-634-5021 410-822-3965 Fax- 410-822-5068
P.O. Box 2026 Easton, MD 21601-8925