The agricultural harvesting season is upon us and the Lambton Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is urging all motorists to be aware of and courteous to our community farming partners.

“This is the time of year when we encounter an increased number of farm vehicles on our roadways,” OPP officials said in a media release.

“Farmers are required to comply with regulations related to proper lighting, means of attachment, and use of slow moving vehicle signs. At the same time, motorists must slow down, use caution and have patience. Regardless of who has the lawful “right of way”; a passenger car vs a farming tractor and a load of wagons will result in disaster.”

Here are some tips to keep in mind when sharing the roadway with farm equipment:

– Recognize slow moving vehicles by the orange triangle and use caution.

– Realize that farm vehicles travel between 30-40 km/h. Slow down when you see farm equipment on the road and be prepared to stop.

– Watch for left turns. Not all farm vehicles have turn signals – watch for farmer’s signalling a turn using the same hand signals as a bicycle rider.

– Be aware that farmers with long or wide equipment sometimes need to make a wide turn. If a tractor swings right, be careful, it may be starting a left turn.

– The farmer may be unable to pull off the road due to equipment weight or soft shoulder issues. Wait for a safe opportunity to pass.

– Leave a wide berth when passing. Some farm equipment takes up more than one lane and some pieces of equipment have pieces protruding that can be hard to see.

– When finished passing, don’t stop or slow down in front of the farm vehicle. Large equipment can’t brake as quickly as a car.

– Be aware that wet fields may require loading and unloading to occur on the roadway.

Aggressive driving is not only unsafe, it is against the law. Be courteous with farm vehicle operators and treat them as you would any other vehicle on the roadway.