A warning about spring roads

Published 8:50 am Thursday, March 23, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Farmers are busy planting their crops, and that means motorists will likely encounter slow-moving farm equipment on roadways.

Spring planting season can be a dangerous time for farmers and motorists traveling on rural roads. Though only 19% of people in the U.S. live in rural areas, almost half of fatal roadway accidents occur in these areas. “We had a fatality last year in Wythe County when a farmer was hit,” said Jonathan Grimes, Wythe County Farm Bureau president and member of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Farm Safety Advisory Committee. Grimes explained that motorists driving fast can quickly close the distance between themselves and slow-moving farm equipment. Farmers often have limited visibility when operating equipment, and some of the machinery can be much larger than drivers expect, taking up more than one lane or an entire narrow rural road.

Virginia law requires operators of vehicles that travel slower than 25 mph to rear-mount triangular slow-moving vehicle signs when equipment is being driven on public roadways. Many farmers also use flashing amber lights and reflective decals to alert approaching drivers.