Share the Road: Farm Equipment on NC Roadways

Author: Kirsten Barber

Spring is an active time for farmers and members of our state’s agricultural industry. Did you know that in North Carolina it is legal for farm equipment to travel on most public roads? The exception to this includes interstates and controlled access roadways.

“Our farmers are out working hard right now as they are one of North Carolina’s most important economic engines,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “Please be careful when you see farm trucks and equipment out on the road so they can do their jobs while everyone stays safe.” 

For the safety of everyone on the road, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol has a few recommendations for motorists and equipment operators.

Know when to expect delays

Farm equipment in general is more active on roadways during the early morning and late evening periods. Look for NCDOT warning signs indicating their potential presence. Although spring and fall are peak times for seeing farm equipment along our state’s roadways, the public should be alert to their presence year-round.  

Be aware on the roadways

Types of typical farm machinery collisions include rear end collisions due to the farm vehicles slower traveling speed and passing collisions as a farm vehicle makes a left turn while a driver attempts a passing maneuver. If you find yourself behind farm equipment, remember to: 

  • Wait for a safe place to pass slow moving farm machinery.
  • Be aware of the farm machinery's potential for extended length and width.
  • Adjust your speed if you spot one ahead since farm equipment typically travels at 25 mph.
  • Maintain a safe following distance as debris or agricultural products could fall from the vehicle. 

Equipment operators need to be alert too

In order to keep roadways safe, equipment operators have responsibilities too. The NCDOT recommends that farm equipment operators:

  • Check equipment before leaving. 
  • Become familiar with approved routes.
  • Watch out for other motorists. 
  • Always use warning flashers. 
  • Operate during daylight hours and good weather conditions.

Our farmers and agriculture workers help to feed North Carolina residents and its economy, so let’s all do our part to keep them safe.

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