Caution Urged Around Farm Vehicles

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department is cracking down on drivers who illegally pass farm vehicles moving large equipment on public roads. Berrien County Board of Commissioners Chair Mac Elliot tells WSJM News he’s been hearing from farmers about people who recklessly go around them as they’re moving ag equipment. He says those drivers need a little patience.

“Typically, this is just a couple of minutes, and the patience of a three year old is not what we’re looking for with adults on the highway,” Elliot said.

Elliot says the sheriff is working with local police departments to catch those impatient drivers and to spread awareness.

“It may serve the motoring public if people who are thinking about doing it and seeing people getting pulled over, the lights are on, and that ticket if you pass in a no passing zone, it’s going to cost you.”

The Berrien County Sheriff’s Department says farmers are legally allowed to operate farm equipment on the same roads as drivers. It has released the following list of tips:

  • Pass with caution if a farmer has pulled off the road to allow you to pass, or if they cannot pull off and you feel you can pass in a safe manner.
  • Be watchful of motor vehicles behind you that may also try to pass.
  • Do not pass if you must enter the oncoming traffic lane unless you can see clearly ahead of you and the vehicle you will pass.
  •  Do not pass if there are curves or hills ahead that may block your view or the view of oncoming vehicles.
  •  Do not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad crossing or bridge.
  •  Do not assume that a farm vehicle that pulls to the right side of the road is going to let you pass. Due to the size of some farm implements, the farmer must use wide left-hand turns. If you are unsure, check for turn signals or operator hand signals. Also, check the left side of the road for driveways, gates or any place a farm vehicle might turn into.
  • Do not assume the farmer can see you or knows you are there if you are following. Most operators are regularly checking traffic behind them and newer farm equipment is will equipped with mirrors but farmers must spend most of the time looking ahead to keep equipment safely on the road and watch for oncoming traffic.