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Watch out for farm vehicles on roads, officials warn

It's harvest time so be prepared to share the road with tractors.

It's about time to load up on pumpkins, squash, and all those other fall fruits and veggies. But before they can get to stores and farmers markets, they have to be harvested.

That's why Minnesota officials are warning drivers to watch out for farm vehicles on roads. 

Friday, the Sherburne County Sheriff's Office posted to Facebook to remind drivers how to safely approach tractors on the road. It's important because, as the Minnesota Department of Transportation points out, there were 688 crashes involving farm vehicles between 2011 and 2015. Of those, there were 23 fatalities and 348 injuries.

“Twenty-two percent of all farm equipment crashes and 29 percent of the fatalities were distraction-related,” Jay Hietpas, state traffic engineer, said in a statement. “Other factors were speed-related and alcohol-related.”

What drivers should do

The Department of Transportation says motorists should slow down and approach farm equipment with caution. Don't assume the equipment operator can see you. 

Be sure to watch for debris that might have dropped, and wait for a safe place to pass. 

What farm equipment operators should do

MnDOT reminds farm equipment operators to use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.

Those drivers are also encouraged to pull over and let traffic pass when it's safe, and pick up debris dropped on roads or ask MnDOT to remove it.

Find more information here

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