CARLTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — After getting a later start harvesting corn and soybeans this year, farmers in Michigan are working to make up for lost time and that means more farm equipment using the roadways.
The Michigan Farm Bureau is reminding people to look for flashing lights and the orange triangle signs on the back of farm equipment, which indicates a slow-moving vehicle.
“They’re gonna be moving frequently up and down the roads, trying to get as much work as they can done in the limited time they may have because who knows when that next rainstorm may be coming,” said Nate Krohn, a farmer who also works for Greenmark Equipment, a John Deere dealer near Hastings.
Krohn said he remembers many times when drivers have made him sit up higher in his seat.
“You learn through close calls and you are in a big piece of machinery. Not everybody is accustomed to that. You want to go slow, you want to take your time, you want to make sure you have your hazard signals on, you want to make sure other drivers can see you,” Krohn said.
The Governors Highway Safety Association says that while 19% of Americans live in rural areas, 45% of all fatal traffic crashes happen in these areas, according to data from 2016 to 2020.
“Again, we want everyone home safe. No farmer wants to be in an accident. No farmer wants to cause that accident,” Krohn said.
Krohn drives defensively and tries to spot drivers who are not watching the road.
“It only takes a split second — look down at your phone or looking over at something and a machine is over as far as they can without maybe getting into a ditch,” Krohn said.
They want drivers to be careful and to give themselves plenty of time to get to their destination.
“Just be patient. Just take an extra few minutes, be aware. Be aware of the surroundings when you do come up to farm machinery as you’re traveling up and down the road. You know a lot of farmers have a lot of work to do yet this year and hopefully with everybody working together it can be safe,” Krohn said.