About a decade ago, commodity prices were in the basement and many farmers needed to get out of the business or expand to stay competitive. The bigger farms that resulted continue to expand, and required bigger, faster farm equipment to keep up. As a result, tractors and other equipment are now able to travel more quickly for longer distances on the road. That’s created a challenge for drivers used to the classic reflective triangle; it was intended for vehicles travelling at around 40 km/h, and it signalled a slow-moving vehicle. But those vehicles may no longer be slow.

The Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario says this change is significant enough to warrant new road safety measures. According to the federation, farmers and the public could be on a collision course that has dire consequences and the potential for tragedy. The industry should respond with new signage to indicate to drivers the new capabilities of farm equipment. New signs would signal to drivers the equipment is not a traditional slow-moving vehicle. The organization believes Ontario drivers need this as a visual cue to change their driving habits and keep everyone safer on the road. Long rigs pulling more than two pieces of equipment should use a sign similar to the “long commercial vehicle” sign to warn other vehicles of the length of the rig. As well, the federation wants a brief, voluntary training program to acknowledge the increased skills required by operators.

These suggestions highlight not only the change in the agriculture industry, but how the rest of society must embrace these changes. More is changing in the industry than just what is being produced, and how it comes about – indeed, the very core of farming is evolving. Having the industry self-impose new regulations which farmers manage themselves is better than new regulations imposed by others.

Vehicles should take extra caution with farm equipment on the road

Vehicles should take extra caution with farm equipment on the road. Photo credit to garnercleveland.com