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Drivers urged to be cautious on roadways when farmers are present

April 29, 2013

MARSHALL COUNTY - Farmers across the county are anxious to get back in their fields and that means farm equipment traveling county roads to get back to those fields.

The Marshall County Sheriff's Department and the Marshall County Farm Bureau want motorists to remember to be on the lookout for slow moving vehicles, marked with the orange triangular signs. Vehicles marked with an SMV sign are traveling 25 miles per hour or slower.

"I know that some drivers seem to be in such a hurry to get home or to work or ball practice or whatever," said Charlie Houin, President of the Marshall County Farm Bureau. "They have to understand that we're really in a hurry to get where we are going too. Some drivers seem to think that tailgating and pushing us as hard as they can is going to make us go faster. I'm sorry but the equipment is going as fast as it can go."

Houin says that many drivers don't realize how quickly they can close in on a slow moving tractor.

"It only takes about five seconds to close a gap the size of a football field if a car is going 55 and a tractor 15," he said.

Houin hopes that drivers will be patient with farmers on the road.

"We're going to pull off as soon as we possibly can do it safely and let people pass," he said. "We have to be sure it's going to be at a safe spot. For example I have a long tool bar on some of my equipment and I
have to lookout for telephone poles, mailboxes, because I have that length out to the side to deal with as well. Many of us have anhydrous tanks and the last thing we need is anhydrous tanks rolling around on the
road."

Motorists should also be certain the farmer is pulling over to let vehicles pass and not preparing for a left turn.

"We sit up pretty high and we can see things other drivers can't," said Houin. "I've seen a lot of near head on collisions because of people wanting to get out and pass on a double yellow or a dangerous spot. There
have been times that I've actually tried to keep somebody from passing because I see the semi trailer coming up ahead that the car behind me can't.

"Our community has a strong agricultural base and there will be may tractors and implements on the road in the coming weeks. Farmers should be courteous to other drivers, but those in cars should be aware that tractors are traveling slowly and may not always be able to pull over immediately."

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