ST. PAUL, Minn. — As spring arrives in Minnesota, so does the busy planting season for the state’s farmers. The Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) is urging all motorists to exercise caution and vigilance on the roads as farm equipment begins moving between fields.

Over the past two years, from 2021 to the present, there have been 446 crashes involving farm equipment in Minnesota, resulting in eight deaths and 171 injuries. The data underscores the importance of taking extra care on the roadways during planting season.

“Farmers need our highways to prepare and plant fields at this time of year. Sunrise and sunset can also reduce visibility of farm equipment while driving. Drivers should slow down and prepare to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads,” said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer.

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it challenging for operators to accelerate, slow down, and stop quickly. The equipment also requires wide turns and may occasionally cross the center line. Additionally, farm vehicles can create significant blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles.

Safety Tips for Motorists

To ensure safety and prevent accidents, MnDOT provides several tips for motorists who may encounter farm equipment on the roads:

  • Slow Down: Watch for farm equipment, especially at dawn and dusk, on two-lane rural roads.
  • Use Caution: Approach farm equipment carefully and be mindful of potential debris on the road.
  • Headlights On: Drive with headlights on at all times to increase visibility.
  • Wait to Pass: Only pass when you find a safe and clear spot to do so.

Safety Tips for Farm Equipment Operators

MnDOT also advises farm equipment operators to take precautions while driving:

  • Use Lights and Flashers: Make your equipment more visible by using lights and flashers.
  • Slow-Moving Vehicle Emblems: Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
  • Consider a Follow Vehicle: When moving equipment, especially at night, use a follow vehicle to enhance safety.

By practicing these safety tips, both motorists and farm equipment operators can contribute to a safer travel environment during the planting season. Let’s work together to keep Minnesota’s roads safe and ensure a successful planting season for the state’s farmers.