LAKE OF THE OZARKS, Mo. — Farming is a large part of Missouri’s economy and culture, and at this time of year, drivers are reminded of that fact when they share the road with farm equipment.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol reminds drivers to keep a sharp eye for farm machinery on the roads, and they encourage drivers to share the road in a safe and courteous manner.
There were a total of 156 Missouri traffic crashes involving farm equipment in 2014. In those crashes four people were killed and 57 were injured.
The Highway Patrol offered the following driving tips for motorists and farmers:
* Stay alert for slow moving farm equipment.
* When you come up behind a tractor or other farm machinery, please slow down and be patient. Wait to pass until you have a clear view of the road ahead and there is no oncoming traffic. Never pass on a hill or curve.
* Collisions commonly occur when a motorist tries to pass a left-turning farm vehicle. A tractor that appears to be pulling to the right side of the road to let motorists pass, instead may be preparing to make a wide left turn. Watch the farmer’s hand and light signals closely.
* Pay close attention to farm equipment entering and leaving the highway from side roads and driveways.
* Special attention must be paid when traveling at dawn or dusk when the sun makes it difficult for drivers to see.
* Make sure any farm equipment being driven on Missouri roadways is properly marked with lights and a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem.
* Drive as far to the right as possible.
* If traffic accumulates behind you on a road where it is difficult to make a safe pass, you should pull off onto the side of the road in a level area, so the vehicles can pass.
* If possible, never travel on roadways at dawn or dusk when it is more difficult for drivers of other vehicles to see.
* Like other motor vehicles, most modern farm tractors have seat belts. Always use a seat belt when operating a tractor equipped with a roll-over protection structure.
* Often, all-terrain vehicles are used for agricultural purposes. ATVs being used for farming can only travel on highways during daylight hours and must be equipped with lights, a bicycle flag, and "slow-moving vehicle" emblem. The law requires anyone under the age of 18 to wear a safety helmet when operating an ATV; the Patrol, however, recommends all operators to wear a safety helmet regardless of age.
Farmers are encouraged to review the regulations that pertain to farm vehicles and the transportation of goods. These regulations include, but are not limited to:
**If crossing state lines, farm vehicle drivers should be aware of the regulations for the jurisdictions in which they operate.
**Farm vehicles operated only within Missouri must display the farm name and its location if the vehicle bears a "local" license plate with the “F” tab.
**The driver of a farm vehicle must be at least 18 years of age if operating with Missouri; 21 years of age if crossing the state line.
**Those driving farm vehicles should familiarize themselves with the regulations regarding DOT physicals and commercial driver licenses when applicable.
**Permits must be obtained from MoDOT if you are traveling on an interstate and your vehicle or load is over the normal size and weight requirements.
** Any vehicle or combination of vehicles hauling grain or grain co-products during times of harvest may be as much as, but not exceeding, 10 percent over the maximum weight limitation allowable while operating on highways other than the interstate highway system. The provisions of Section 304.180 shall not apply to vehicles operated and operating on the interstate.
For a complete list of regulations which apply to farm vehicles visit: http://www.modot.mo.gov/mcs/documents/FarmTruckSafety07.pdf