Law of the month

October - Harvest season requires drivers and farm vehicle operators to be safe, patient, and alert

With another fall harvest season underway, the Wisconsin State Patrol is reminding motorists and farm vehicle operators to be safe, patient, and share the road.

“This is an especially busy time of year for farmers, requiring motorists to be extra alert, patient and be very cautious when legally passing a farm vehicle,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Anthony Burrell. “Ag vehicle operators have several responsibilities as well and must use appropriate lights, signage and signals, and comply with weight restrictions.”

Over the last decade (2009 – 2018) in Wisconsin, there were a total of 1,707 traffic crashes involving agricultural equipment resulting in 32 fatalities and 874 injuries. General safety tips for motorists and farm vehicle operators:

Motorist responsibilities:

  • Scan the road ahead and be ready to slow down when you see slow-moving farm vehicles.
  • Be patient and very cautious if you decide to pass. In Wisconsin, it is illegal to pass an ag vehicle or “implement of husbandry” in a no passing zone.
  • When passing, consider the possibility of the farmer turning left onto a roadway, driveway or field entrance.

Ag vehicle operator responsibilities:

  • Know the lighting and marking requirements for ag vehicles. These requirements draw attention to the unique size, shape and speed of ag vehicles and alert motorists that caution is required. When traveling on a roadway, stay as far to the right as safely possible.
  • Be familiar with road weight restrictions. DATCP provides a statewide map with information about weight limits. More information about related permits, exemption and weight limits can be found on the WisDOT website.


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