Officials Tell Motorists Be Aware of Farm Equipment

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With more farm equipment on the road, the Minnesota Department of Transportation is urging motorists to be more aware of their surroundings.

Farmer Logan Hackmann puts out his hands showing he’s ready for the soy beans to fill up his semi–truck.

“Today I’m just taking it from the field to Maple River Grainery to dump the beans and then I come back,” Hackmann said.

While he heads back on the road he says he goes slower and turns the blinker on a quarter of a mile before the turn.

“Well it’s definitely a lot slower than a normal vehicle it takes us a lot longer to speed up and slow down,” Hackmann said.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation says from 2011 to 2013 there were nearly 400 traffic crashes, which nine fatalities were farm vehicle riders.

Farmer John Hejl takes off onto the field and knows when he’s on the road he tries to be as polite as he can to other drivers.

“People are in a hurry so if we can get out of their way we’re going to, but that’s not always possible. So we get over as far as we can and we try to be as safe as we can and try to watch out for everyone else,” Hjel said.

Officials say to put down the phone, turn on the headlights, and drive slow.

“As you mix up with the tractors and the combines and the big equipment you need to be more alert as you travel across the real highways.  You can come over a hill and you’ll see a you’ll have a big piece of equipment right in front of you, and if you’re not ready that’s when bad things happen,” said North Dakota Department of Transportation Assistant District Engineer Kevin Gorder.

Officials hope this will plant a seed of awareness in motorists to follow that yield sign, slow down and use caution.

MnDOT also says that farm equipment operators should use lights, travel less than 30 mph and consider using a follow vehicle.