Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Drivers, farmers need patience to share the road

Big cities are known for their traffic jams and aggressive drivers, but rural drivers know that traffic problems aren't confined to metropolitan areas. While urban drivers are slowed by congestion, rural drivers frequently find themselves behind slow-moving farm machinery. A farm safety specialist says that fewer people understand that farming requires using roads to move tractors and heavy equipment from field to field. (Photo from Natchez, Miss., by tinydr on Flickr)

"Historically, farmers have had a very strong social contract with the communities and most people recognized that during the spring and the fall there'd be extra traffic of farm equipment on the highway," Bill Field, Purdue University extension safety specialist, said in a Brownfield Ag News podcast. "I see that people are becoming less patient with it. People are becoming a little bit more aggressive.”

Field says patience is needed on both sides. Farm-machinery drivers need to recognize the stress of those stuck behind the equipment, and pull over whenever possible to let faster-moving vehicles through, while those stuck behind large equipment need to recognize moving the machinery is necessary to the farmer's business. Without that patience, "we're facing a number of collisions and mishaps involving the highway." (Listen to the complete podcast)

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