When I read the April 8 article on moving farm machinery on roads (“Farming the Roads”), I thought of things I have learned from many years of experience.
Here are some things that can make left turns safer for us as farmers and also help motorists be more aware of what we intend to do. I would like to share these experiences with fellow readers in the hope we can prevent accidents.
I find that rear view mirrors are very helpful. With a little ingenuity, extended mirrors can be bolted or clamped to any tractor, enabling us to see around high and wide loads.
It is helpful to have a large sign on the back of forage wagons, saying “watch for left turn.”
Caution/turn signal lights, at fender height, are noticed more that those on top of a tractor cab. Motorists tend not to look up that high when they are following a tractor.
At dusk, the extended lights are especially helpful. I prefer not to use warning lights in the daytime if I will be turning left. Motorists do not notice when the right light stops flashing and the left one does nothing different.
We have to use hand signals, when driving a tractor without turn signals. Be very cautious when relying on hand signaling. Today’s motorists tend not to heed them.
Never motion anyone around your equipment. You can not anticipate what they will do. You do not want to be liable for their actions.
Use your seat belt whenever you are on the road. You will be a lot safer if they are fastened.
We are often in a hurry, but preventing accidents takes a lot less time than dealing with them.
Robert A. Taft