Road Safety during harvest season is about respect, according to the Ontario Provincial Police, who encourage the community to work with the farmers who help put food on our tables. Peter Leon, Central Region media relations coordinator, stresses the need to “allow our farmers the opportunity to safely get to their fields and then safely get home again at the end of the day.”
Equipment to look out for on the roads include large combine-type harvesters and any equipment that gets crops out of the ground. “I saw some equipment on Hwy 12 here in Orillia, just outside our regional headquarters, travelling along the roadway and there was a significant line of motor vehicles that were behind them,” says Leon.
“I think people understand that these are the people that put food on our table and we need to work with them and be a little patient as they make their way through some of our communities to get to their fields to do their most necessary work at this time of year,” he continues.
At high traffic times, Leon explains that farmers tend to get a “good start to the day so we’re going to see them working late into the evening and they’ll be starting early in the morning.”
“I think first and foremost we need to respect the fact that we could see this large farm machinery on the road at any given time, and if we do, we need to just be a little bit patient.”
He also offered some general driving tips when passing large equipment on the road, like identifying a “safe opportunity to pass”, signalling your intention and giving enough time before getting back into the lane ahead of them.
“Remember, these are very very large pieces of equipment again, very heavy pieces of equipment, specialized machinery – we don’t want them to contact any of our vehicles,” says Leon. He also noted that some equipment extends beyond the centre line of the road, “even if they are travelling along the shoulder because it is so wide,” says Leon.
“We have seen, unfortunately in the past, where motor vehicles have come into contact with large farm machinery, and I can tell you, the outcome is not too good. These are big pieces of equipment that we are not going to win the battle with.”
For instance, if hay is coming out of the fields, there will be very large bales piled up high on the trailers. “Give yourself plenty of room to be able to just react accordingly in the event that something does happen ahead of them, where they have to stop suddenly,” he notes.
“We need to afford them the opportunity to make every manoeuvre that they have to carry out safely.”
For information, visit: www.opp.ca.