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Beware of Tractors, Combines, Balers, Plows

Share the road during harvest season

      With the arrival of fall, farmers from many of Maryland’s 12,300 farms take their work to the streets. The fall harvest season extends to early November. On rural roads and even highways, motorists should be prepared to share as farmers move between working fields. Along major farming routes, electronic signs help remind you to be patient with sometimes sluggish farm equipment.
       “Farmers understand that your commute is delayed and will pull over at a safe spot,” says Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder.
      Use these cautions when sharing the harvest roads
• Use caution in passing whether or not a farmer has pulled off the road.
• Be watchful that vehicles behind you may also be trying to pass.
• Do not enter the oncoming lane of traffic unless you can see clearly ahead of both you and the vehicle you will pass.
• Do not pass when upcoming curves or hills may block your view — or the view of oncoming vehicles.
• Do not pass in a designated no passing zone or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevation structure or tunnel.
• Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right side of the road is going to turn right or is letting you pass. Due to the size of some farm implements, the farmer must execute wide left-hand turns. Before passing, check the operator’s hand signals and the left side of the road for gates, driveways or any place a farm vehicle may turn.
       “Please help protect the men and women who work hard every day to produce your food, fuel and fiber, especially during this harvest season when there are more combines and farm trucks on the roads,” says Maryland Farm Bureau President Chuck Fry.