Motorists Reminded to Share the Road with Farm Equipment This Spring
HARTFORD — Planting season is underway for many of Connecticut’s 5,500 farms. Motorists are likely to see more large, slow-moving farm equipment traveling Connecticut’s rural roads and highways.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture and Connecticut Department of Transportation encourage motorists to slow down, be aware, and be patient on roadways this spring.
“Connecticut’s farmers produce a diverse array of Connecticut Grown products that we depend on every day – from fruits and vegetables to livestock feeds so we can enjoy our favorite meats and fiber products, along with barley and hops for adult beverages,” said Connecticut Department of Agriculture Commissioner Bryan P. Hurlburt. “Our farmers livelihood, and the food you enjoy eating, is dependent on them getting crops planted in a timely manner. Be patient and courteous when you encounter farm equipment on the roads, so that everyone can make it home safely to their families.”
While the term “farm equipment” encompasses a wide range of vehicles, the most common motorists will encounter during planting season include tractors pulling planters or tillage equipment, manure spreaders, sprayers, and large trucks hauling agricultural products. These vehicles are wide, sometimes taking up most of the road, and often travel at speeds no greater than 25 mph.
“We need motorists to slow down, put distractions away, and stay alert each time they get behind the wheel. These large pieces of equipment travel are reduced speed, so please be patient, give the drivers plenty space and only pass when it is safe to do so. We all play a part in roadway safety and making sure everyone gets home safely at the end of the day,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto.
Motorists should follow these six safety tips when approaching large farm equipment:
1. Plan ahead. If you know that the route to your destination includes farm territory, leave a little early so that you have extra time and don’t feel so hurried.
2. Slow down. Farm vehicles move slowly. They may be just coming out of one field and already preparing to turn into another. To be safe, maintain a 50-foot “cushion” between your vehicle and the equipment.
3. Yield. Give farm equipment the right-of-way when meeting it on the road. Tractors and sprayers do a great job in the wide-open field, but aren’t designed to navigate the narrow roads found in rural Connecticut.
4. Pass carefully. Country roads are often narrow, curvy, and hilly. Be sure you can see a reasonable distance ahead before you consider passing slow-moving equipment and watch the driver of that equipment. He or she will use when possible, but there may not always be flashing lights. Watch for hand signals in addition to blinkers.
5. Take a second look. Before pulling into an intersection or making a move to pass, be sure your path is clear in all directions.
6. Be patient. Zipping around slow-moving equipment is dangerous, and the possibility of shaving a few minutes off your arrival time isn’t worth risking your life or the lives of others. The person driving that equipment is someone’s mom or dad, husband or wife, someone’s son or daughter, and they want to get home to their family safely every night.
The Connecticut Department of Agriculture (CT ) mission is to foster a healthy economic, environmental, and social climate for agriculture by developing, promoting, and regulating agricultural businesses; protecting agricultural and aquacultural resources; enforcing laws pertaining to domestic animals; and promoting an understanding among the state's citizens of the diversity of Connecticut agriculture, its cultural heritage, and its contribution to the state's economy. For more information, visit www.CTGrown.gov.
For Immediate Release: Thursday, April 20, 2023
Contact: CT Department of Agriculture, Rebecca Eddy, 860-573-0323, Rebecca.Eddy@ct.gov;
CT Department of Transportation, Josh Morgan, 860-597-7821, Josh.Morgan@ct.gov