Re­mem­ber to share the road

Record Observer - - Opinion -

Spring is here and the plant­ing sea­son is start­ing through­out much of Mary­land. That means mo­torists trav­el­ing Mary­land high­ways and ru­ral roads may find them­selves shar­ing the road with the large, slow-mov­ing farm equip­ment from one of Mary­land’s 12,300 farms.

“Farm­ers are legally al­lowed to op­er­ate farm equip­ment on pub­lic road­ways and there are times when farm ve­hi­cles must op­er­ate on high­ways to move be­tween farm and field,” said Agri­cul­ture Sec­re­tary Joe Barten­felder. “I en­cour­age all mo­torists to be pa­tient when trav­el­ing on roads near Mary­land farms and drive with cau­tion to en­sure the safety of mo­torists and farm­ers.”

A farmer un­der­stands that your trip is be­ing de­layed, so he or she will pull off of the road at the first avail­able safe lo­ca­tion to al­low you to pass. Do not as­sume that

the farmer can im­me­di­ately move aside to let you pass. Road shoul­ders may be soft, wet or steep, and this can cause a farm ve­hi­cle to tip, or the shoul­der may be un­able to sup­port a heavy farm ve­hi­cle.

The fol­low­ing tips will help en­sure the safety of mo­torists, pas­sen­gers, and oper­a­tors of slow-mov­ing equip­ment:

• If a farmer has pulled off the road to al­low you to pass, or if he or she can­not pull off the road and you feel you must pass, do so with cau­tion.

• Be watch­ful of ve­hi­cles be­hind you that may also try to pass.

• If you must en­ter the on­com­ing lane of traf­fic, do not pass un­less you can see clearly ahead of both you and the ve­hi­cle you will pass.

• If there are any curves or hills ahead that may block your view or the view of on­com­ing ve­hi­cles, do not pass.

• Do not pass if you are in a des­ig­nated “No Pass­ing Zone” or within 100 feet of any in­ter­sec­tion, rail­road grade cross­ing, bridge, el­e­va­tion struc­ture, or tun­nel.

• Do not as­sume that a farm ve­hi­cle that pulls to the right side of the road is go­ing to turn right or is let­ting you pass. Due to the size of some farm im­ple­ments, the farmer must ex­e­cute wide left­hand turns. If you are un­sure, check the op­er­a­tor’s hand sig­nals and check the left side of the road for gates, drive­ways or any place a farm ve­hi­cle may turn.

With a few pre­cau­tions, mo­torists and farm­ers can share the road safely.

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