Case study: Moving agriculture equipment

A motorcycle collides with a cultivator attachment.

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You can help reduce the potential for deadly roadway collisions when moving agricultural equipment by ensuring your equipment is highly visible to other motorists. The more visible you are, the less likely you’ll be involved in a collision. Being seen can mean the difference between life and death.         

Please take a moment to review the real-life case study we’ve outlined below. It may save you and your company from costly accidents, lawsuits and violations.

Case Study

An employee was driving a tractor pulling a 17-ft wide cultivator attachment extending 5-6 feet across the center line and obstructing the opposite lane of a two-lane country road. It was a clear, dry day; the farmer wasn’t utilizing an escort vehicle and the cultivator lacked reflective markings or flags.

A motorcyclist traveling in the opposite lane didn’t see the approaching cultivator and drove directly into its path, killing the rider instantly. The rider wasn’t wearing a helmet and didn’t appear to slow down before impact. 

Risk Management  Recommendations

  • Establish standard operating procedures for the safe movement of equipment on public roads. Standardized procedures enable everyone within your operation to perform the task in a consistent manner. Managers should familiarize themselves with state farm vehicle requirements to ensure compliance.
  • Use an escort vehicle when driving a wide load. An escort vehicle protects the oversize load and warns motorists of an unusual roadway condition. 
  • Install proper lighting. Even in daylight, lights make it easier for others to spot you.
  • Use reflective markings/flags. Reflective marking material is an effective, low-cost way to identify agricultural equipment. When towing equipment, reflective tape and fluorescent flags should be placed on the outmost edges of the equipment. Fluorescent material is visible in both daytime and low-light conditions.
  • Mark agricultural equipment with slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblems. The SMV emblem is a requirement for moving "implements of husbandry" on public roadways. Implements of husbandry are identified as those vehicles designed and adapted exclusively for agricultural, horticultural or livestock-raising operations.

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