MnDOT warns motorists to be aware of large farm equipment on roadways

Farmer tractor
The silhouette of a farmer is seen in front of a John Deere & Co. tractor at night on a field in Malden, Illinois, on May 16, 2017. Bloomberg photo by Daniel Acker

Motorists traveling on Minnesota roads this fall should be aware of large farm equipment transporting crops to markets, grain elevators and processing plants, according to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“Harvest season is ramping up across Minnesota and farmers need the highways to access their fields and deliver crops to market,” stated Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer, in the release. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roadways, now through November.”

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down or stop. The equipment also makes wide turns and can sometimes cross over the centerline. These vehicles can also create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles. All of these factors can cause serious crashes.

From 2016 to 2018, there were seven fatalities and 385 crashes involving at least one farm vehicle in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s crash data. Of the seven fatalities, one was a farm vehicle rider. Of the 154 injuries, 50 were farm vehicle riders.

Motorists should:


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

Farm equipment operators should:

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