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| Bradshaw & Bryant PLLC

The country roads of Minnesota can be scenic short cuts across the state, but, with spring planting starting, we know that farm equipment is back on the road. Sure, it can be slow and bothersome for the amount of road the vehicles take up, but the reality is that the farmers are working.

Over time we've represented a number of people who have been in collisions involving farm equipment. Rarely are the effects minimal.

• Give farm vehicles and hauling trailers more space and remember that they normally travel more slowly.

• Watch for debris falling from the vehicles. If there is debris, it's safer to brake or drive through it than steer into oncoming traffic or go off the road.

Kurt Fuchs, the Maryland Farm Bureau's assistant government relations director offered these safety tips:

— Farm equipment is usually wider than other vehicles and travels at speeds of only 15 to 25 mph.

— Farmers will do their best to pull off of the road at a safe location to allow you to pass, but do not assume they will. Many road shoulders are soft, steep or simply not wide enough to pull off safely.

— If you must pass, be mindful of vehicles behind you that may also try to pass and avoid passing on or before curves or hills that block your view.

— 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. Because of implement size, farmers often must make wide left turns. Check the operator's hand signals and the left side of the road for gates and driveways where the vehicle might turn.

— Many farm machinery accidents are crashes from the rear. If you are driving 55 mph and come upon a tractor traveling at 15 mph, it takes only five seconds to close a gap the length of a football field between you and the tractor.

The key is to slow down and keep a good look out.

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