Last week, third grader’s across Putnam County were treated to a fun-filled day learning about safety and preventing hazards around the home and on the farm. This Farm Safety Day event at the Gerding Farm has been a tradition in Putnam County for nearly 20 years. While the kids certainly learned a lot at Farm Safety Day, it is also a great reminder for adults across the county to revisit safety measures, especially now that field work and planting have begun.
More and more farm equipment will be on Putnam county roads in the days and weeks ahead. Encouraging safety on the road during planting season can reduce potential risks and accidents.
As we enter the planting season, be aware of farm equipment, particularly as we are often running late to work, kids’ sporting events and other activities. Likewise, farmers must also be aware that they share the road with the general public. The following recommendations for motorists and farmers encourage safety on our local roads and are adapted from suggestions made by Ed Lentz, ANR Educator for Hancock County Extension.
- Farmers should place a “slow-moving vehicle” emblem on all equipment so motorists can easily see you on the road. Amber flashers and turn signals are also recommended at all times.
- Motorists need to be alert for slower moving farm equipment on the roads and avoid activities that may distract them.
- Farm machinery operators may not be able to see motorists because the equipment can partially block their view. If you can’t see the operator, the operator can’t see you. Keep a safe distance behind machinery to ensure you are in the operator’s view.
- Motorists need to be careful when passing farm equipment. Large tillage equipment and planters are often folded and may veer in any direction suddenly.
- Motorists need to be aware that farm equipment that is half on the road and half on the shoulder may suddenly move completely onto the road. Extra-wide equipment may take up more than one lane to avoid hitting mailboxes and road signs.
Additional recommendations for farm equipment include:
- Headlights and taillights are required until 30 minutes after sunrise, and 30 minutes before sunset and required during day hours in inclement weather, such as fog and rain.
- Ideally, towed implements should have reflectors, lights, and a slow-moving vehicle emblem. Law requires these items when the implement blocks the lighting/marking configuration on the tractor.
- Safety cables or chains should be used in any towing situation.
- Lock tractor brakes together.
- Wear seat belts while operating tractors with rollover protective structures (ROPS).
- Ohio law states that only one wagon/implement may be towed behind any vehicle with two exceptions:
1.) Towing with a tractor: more than one wagon/implement may be towed. While no maximum is indicated, common sense and safety should play a role. 2.) Towing with a pickup or straight truck: a truck designed by the manufacturer to carry a load of not less than one-half ton and not more than two tons may tow two wagons/implements.
- Use an escort vehicle when possible.