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ASK A TROOPER: Follow laws passing farm equipment

ASK A TROOPER: Follow laws passing farm equipment

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Sgt. Troy Christianson mug

Sgt. Troy Christianson of the Minnesota State Patrol

Q: Harvest season upon us and with slow moving farm vehicles on roadways, is it permissible to pass a slow-moving farm implement on Minnesota highways in a delineated no-passing zone? If passing is prohibited, maybe this is something to feature in the ‘Ask a Trooper’ segments in various media outlets.

A: This is perfect timing going into harvest season. Chances are motorists will encounter slow moving farm vehicles in the next few months.

Passing in a “no-passing zone” is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. A motorist must wait until it is legal and safe. In these cases, patience is a must!

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The machines also make wide turns and sometimes cross over the center line. They also create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors require drivers to exercise extra caution during harvest season.

Approaching farm equipment with caution can help prevent crashes.

  • In the last five years (2015-2019), 14 people died on Minnesota roads as a result of a crash involving farm equipment.
  • In the last five years (2015-2019), 29 people suffered life-changing injuries as a result of a crash involving farm equipment.

Motorists should:

  • Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment. Don’t assume the operator can see you.
  • Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.
  • Wait for a safe and legal place to pass.

Farm equipment operators should:

  • Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
  • Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
  • Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
  • Properly secure your load.

You can avoid a ticket — and a crash — if you simply buckle up, drive at safe speeds, pay attention and always drive sober. Help us drive Minnesota Toward Zero Deaths.

If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota send your questions to Sgt. Troy Christianson – Minnesota State Patrol at 2900 48th Street NW, Rochester MN 55901-5848. (Or reach him at, Troy.Christianson@state.mn.us)

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