CORDOVA, Md.- Slow down drivers! Harvesting season is on its way to Delmarva and that means more farmers will be on roads riding down highways and country roads.
And now, a new study says more crashes involving farm equipment are happening. Most involve vehicle damage, some include injuries, and while rare, some cases even involve death.
It’s a common sight each season as farmers haul big equipment along tiny roads to and from fields.
For Travis Hutchison, it’s a job that rarely runs completely smooth.
“We don’t like being on the road any more than you like us being out there,” Hutchison said. “But to make a living, we’ve got to get from one farm to another and we’ve got to be on the road to get there.”
Hutchinson says it’s stressful squeezing his large sprayer past cars and fields alongside roads. It’s getting harder.
The Maryland Soybean Board says the number of farm vehicle crashes are rising, and while most only involve some damage to property, over 72 percent happen in clear weather.
Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble says the rise is likely due to a rise in traffic especially during beach season. He says the best mode for safety: give space to farmers and obey traffic signs and laws.
“These are the men and women that are feeding us and we want want to keep them safe,” Gamble said. “We want people to have a little patience. Be alert. Stay off your phone. Move over and slow down.”
Hutchison says he and other farmers are also working with Maryland’s State Highway Administration to build farm-friendly roads. Possible changes include new and improved signs to warn drivers of farm vehicles in the area.