Written by Katherine Ludwig
As farmers begin their seeding processes for this year, drivers can expect to see more farm equipment on the roads.
Drivers are asked to drive with caution when tailing or passing farm equipment.
In a five-year span between 2016 and 2020, there were a total of 96 collisions between vehicles and farm equipment on the roads in Saskatchewan, according to SGI statistics.
“Those collisions, that’s not a high number of course, but it’s not insignificant because a high number or a high percentage of those collisions result in injury or death,” says Tyler McMurchy, Media Relations Manager for SGI.
Of those 96 collisions, 44 injuries and 8 deaths were reported.
In 2016 there were 31 collisions, there were 19 in 2017, 13 in 2018, 23 in 2019, and 10 collisions between farm equipment and automobiles in 2020.
“You need to treat farm machinery like you would any slow-moving traffic and be patient. They're going to be moving slower. They’re wider or longer deceptively in some cases. So, you need to give yourself plenty of space,” says McMurchy.
In some instances, farm machinery might not have signals or may need to come to an abrupt stop McMurchy warned.
He says it’s best to try and estimate where the farm equipment is heading so that you don’t try to pass them before they try to make a left-hand turn.
He also adds that when farm equipment is on the road, they’re usually only going from one field to the next so they shouldn’t be on the road for very long. He says being patient and paying attention to the intention of the farm equipment's driver are the best ways to stay safe.
There are specific road rules for certain kinds of farm equipment as well.
“There are definitely rules dictating on how, where, and when farm equipment can be transported... any equipment that travels slower than 40 kilometers per hour must be equipped with a rear or center slow-moving vehicle sign. Machinery that extends more than 1.2 meters should be equipped with reflector devices to alert drivers as well,” says McMurchy.
More information can be found on the provincial government's website.