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Farm truck safety - tips for sharing the road

Farm truck safety - tips for sharing the road

By Scout Nelson

During the cropping season, farm trucks become a common sight on rural roads. Angie Johnson, farm and ranch safety coordinator at NDSU Extension, emphasizes the importance of giving farm trucks extra room due to their size and weight.

Surveys by the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute reveal that tractor-trailer semitrucks are the primary farm trucks in the region. Loaded semis, weighing over 75,000 pounds, take about 40% longer to stop than passenger vehicles, requiring up to one-and-a-half football fields' length.

Johnson notes, "If you can't see the driver in the truck's side mirror, it's likely that the driver can't see you." Passing or being passed requires caution to avoid lingering in blind spots.

The National Safety Council reports that more than 70% of injuries and deaths resulting from large-truck crashes occur to occupants of other vehicles. Rural roads present unique challenges for farm truck drivers, including soft shoulders, damaged road surfaces, and narrow lanes.

Kelly Bengtson, a road and bridge engineer at the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute, highlights the hazards posed by intersections that may not be designed to accommodate large vehicles. Drivers often need to make wide turns, requiring extra space and caution from other motorists.

Visibility can be further reduced by dust clouds from gravel roads or farm operations. "It's important to pay attention to your surroundings and be extra cautious any time there are trucks or farm equipment operating in the area," Bengtson says.

Inexperienced or youthful drivers may operate farm trucks, adding another layer of risk. Patience and giving these drivers extra space can help prevent accidents.

Safe speeds are crucial on rural roads, particularly considering weather conditions and other factors. Driving defensively and adjusting speed accordingly can prevent many accidents.

Johnson emphasizes, "Being in a hurry to pass, following too closely, or cutting in front of trucks can have deadly consequences."

Patience and caution are important when sharing the road with farm trucks. Being aware of their challenges and maneuvering needs can help ensure everyone's safety on rural roads.

Photo Credit -istock-jmichl

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Categories: North Dakota, Rural Lifestyle, Farm Safety

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