Hazards on Rural Roads

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You face many hazards when you move farm equipment on public roads:
  • Narrow roads and bridges don’t accommodate large equipment.
  • Soft shoulders increase the chance of a rollover when you try to make room for other vehicles to pass.
  • Poor road conditions, such as potholes, blind corners and washouts, increase hazards for large machinery.
  • Dust covered machinery causes poor visibility for you, the operator, who may not see oncoming traffic.
  • Dust covered signage and lighting makes farm machinery less visible to motorists.
  • Differences in speed between farm machinery and other traffic can result in rear-end collisions. Motorists often miscalculate the rate at which they are approaching farm equipment and consequently run into the rear of it.

The driver of the care may catch up to the farm equipment sooner than expected.
  • If equipment is too wide to fit safely into one lane, approaching traffic can clip the machinery or hit it head on.

This piece of equipment poses a hazard to approaching traffic.
  • Inadequate lighting can result in poor visibility at dawn and dusk. Although most new equipment is fitted with adequate lighting and reflective tape, many older pieces of equipment do not meet the standards for lighting and visibility under the Traffic Safety Act.
  • Inexperienced operators can make mistakes when they are not used to the limitations of equipment in speed and maneuverability.
  • Loads not tied down properly can shift or be dumped on the road.
  • Towing a heavy load too fast can lead to swaying and loss of control, resulting in a jack-knifed vehicle or an overturn.
  • Poor maintenance of equipment such as brakes or tires can lead to loss of control of the vehicle.
  • Extra riders on farm equipment are a distraction to the operator and are at risk of falling off the machinery and being run over.
Reaction Times

The diagram shows the difference in reaction times for approaching another motor vehicle and approaching slow-moving farm equipment. With slow-moving equipment, the reaction time is so small that quick decisions must be made to avoid a rear-end collision.

If the vehicle ahead of you is driving slightly slower than you, you have time to react. If the vehicle in front is driving much slower than you, your time to react may be seconds.

See section 2 for standards for lighting and visiblity under the Traffic Safety Act.

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Other Documents in the Series

  Safe Transporation of Farm Equipment Section 1
Hazards on Rural Roads - Current Document
Types of Road Incidents Resulting in Injury and Death
Prevention of Farm Equipment Incidents on Public Roads
Safe Driving Tips
Defensive Driving Tips for You as a Rural Motorist
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Kenda Lubeck.
This information published to the web on March 25, 2009.
Last Reviewed/Revised on October 24, 2017.