Cheryl Skjolaas, Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Total time – 2:57
0:13 – Tips for sharing the road
0:52 – What should motorists look for
1:17 – Common causes of crashes
1:27 – Legal to pass farm equipment
2:03 – Driving on the road shoulder
2:46 – Lead out
Lorre Kolb: Road safety in the springtime. We’re visiting today with Cheryl Skjolaas with the Center for Ag Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin and I’m Lorre Kolb. Cheryl, it’s planting season, what are some tips for sharing the road?
Cheryl Skjolaas: The first place to start when we share the road is even before that farm equipment moves out onto the road. We really want the operators to be checking their equipment, that it has the proper lighting and marking, starting with that clean, bright orange and red slow moving vehicle or SMV emblem because that’s an indicator to motorists that you’re operating under 25 miles per hour. After that be looking that your turn signals are working, your reflectors are in place, that you have the proper marking tape; so red retro reflective to the rear and amber to the front.
Lorre Kolb: What should motorists be aware of?
Cheryl Skjolaas: For the motorists, we really want you to be taking your time, looking up the road a distance for that slow moving farm machinery and when you see something in the distance, start slowing down because if that equipment is operating 15 miles per hour and you’re traveling 55 miles per hour, we’re talking in 300 feet you have like 3 seconds to be slowing down.
Lorre Kolb: What are common causes of crashes?
Cheryl Skjolaas: One of the big areas that we see for road crashes is when somebody goes to pass that farm equipment.
Lorre Kolb: Is it legal to pass slow moving farm equipment?
Cheryl Skjolaas: It is illegal to pass farm equipment in a no passing zone. So look at those passing zones where you can legally pass the farm equipment, but still, really make that determination that you have enough distance to pass that farm equipment, that there’s enough width to the roadway that you can safely get around that farm equipment and the other thing is if you’re coming up to a controlled intersection – one that has stop signs or stoplights – that you’re going to be able to give that operator of that farm equipment time enough to stop.
Lorre Kolb: Why is the farm equipment on the road rather than driving on the shoulder?
Cheryl Skjolaas: So farm equipment has the right to operate on the roadway. And we really want that equipment operating on the road in the lane and not off on the shoulder. A lot of times, shoulders are soft in the springtime, we’ve had some rain there’s washout, it’s not safe for them to operate off on that shoulder. So a common courtesy is if that farm equipment operator can find an area to safely pull to the right to allow people to pass, that we recommend they do so, but the best place for everybody is keeping that farm equipment on the roadway where there’s a solid base.
Lorre Kolb: We’ve been visiting today with Cheryl Skjolaas with the Center for Ag Safety and Health, University of Wisconsin-Madison/Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, Wisconsin and I’m Lorre Kolb.