Harvest time is not just a busy time for Missouri farmers, it means there will be more than the average number of tractors, combines and other farm equipment on Missouri roadways.

Sgt. Jake Angle, public information officer for the Missouri Highway Patrol’s Troop H said that drivers should expect there to be an increased amount of farm machinery on the roads from now through the end of the year.

“While there is an increase in the amount of farm machinery on the major roads and highways there is especially an increase on secondary roads and highways, and in northwest Missouri, those roads are typically hilly and curving roads,” Angle said. “It is a great reminder to everyone - both the farmers driving and other motorists to pay attention to and obey all traffic laws.

“Speed is of critical importance, especially on these hills and curves,” Angle stressed. “When you crest a hill and see a combine you do not have much time to react. Obeying all traffic laws is a must and farmers need to make sure they are obeying the laws and driving well light or flagged machinery.”

Angle said the most common vehicle versus machinery accidents occur as the driver of a vehicle approached the machinery from behind too quickly or tries to pass when the machinery slows to make a wide left-hand turn.

“If we all pay attention to and obey the traffic laws and be extra cautious, we can all make it home safely,” Angle said.

In 2018, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 186 traffic accidents across the state involving farm equipment. Int hose accidents seven people were killed and 66 were injured.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety recommends these simple tips when driving around slow-moving farm machinery:

Be mindful that it’s harvest season and keep an eye out for machinery. Be patient and remember that farmers are just doing their jobs. Loads on farm vehicles may be wider than other vehicles, which present unique conditions for other motorists. Always pass on the left and only when you have clear sight distance. Always wear your seat belt. It’s your best defense in any traffic crash. Keep your full attention on the road and put your cell phone down.