Drivers need to be aware of tractors on the road

Published: Apr. 9, 2021 at 5:24 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Spring is here and so is planting season. That means farmers will be revving up their tractors and getting them in the fields And also on the roads.

It’s easy for a car or truck to overtake one faster than they know it’s happening. The National Farm Medicine Center wants people to be aware of slow-moving vehicles when driving.

“If you’re driving down a rural road in a motor vehicle at about 60 miles an hour, and you come upon a tractor going about 20 miles an hour, how long will it take the motor vehicle to travel 400 feet to get to that tractor? It only takes 6.5 seconds,” said Outreach Specialist Melissa Ploeckelman.

Ploeckelman says it’s something Wisconsinites need to start thinking about now. She also wanted to remind drivers that farmers are only on the roads in these vehicles out of necessity.

“Right now we’re moving from winter to spring, and we’re going to see a lot of tractors on our rural roadways. It’s true that a farmer would much rather have their tractor in their field, plowing, working up the fields, and planting those little seeds.”

She says she understands the frustration of being stuck behind a tractor, but don’t let that let you make foolish decisions.

“One thing that it’s important to remember is that it’s always illegal to pass a vehicle in a no-passing zone. This includes tractors,” she said.

Tractors are required to have specific lights and slow-moving vehicle markings, but if a driver is distracted that won’t help their visibility.

“We don’t exactly know how many accidents happen with tractors and especially tractors on roadways in the United States. But what we do know is tractors are the leading cause of fatality to farmers,” Ploeckelman said.

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