In the past week there’s been tons of discussion about Chris Soules. The former Bachelor star and Iowa farmer was involved in a hit and run accident between his pickup and a neighboring farmer’s tractor. Much of the coverage to-date has focused on the fact that he fled the scene and was potentially under the influence of alcohol.
These are important pieces of information for the case, but is there a bigger opportunity at hand? With the seasonal spring spike in farm equipment navigating U.S. roads, here are five road-safety tips for motorists and farm equipment operators to bear in mind from the American Farm Bureau Foundation.
1. Slow Down. When you’re driving down the road and see a tractor or combine on the road, slow down. “For the most part tractors and combines top speed is 20-24 miles per hour,” . “That means that a car traveling at 55 mph can overtake and close a gap of 300 foot with a tractor running 15 mph in about five seconds.”
2. Pull Over. Often a farmer on a tractor will cautiously pull over to let the motorist pass. If you do pull over, don’t stop in front of mailboxes, road signs or utility poles. If a tractor is coming down the road toward you and appears to be wider than the lane, be courteous and pull over to let it pass.
3. Be Kind. Farmers should be courteous to motorist and allow them to pass when safe, . “Slow down and/or pull your tractor over to allow for passing.”
4. Be Patient. Whether you’re the farmer or the motorist, there’s room for all parties to be patient. “Farmers have an important job to do and we are not on the roadway to inconvenience motorist,” . “We want to arrive to the field as quickly and as safely as possible.”
5. Don’t Speed. Assume there's always a tractor just around the corner when you’re driving a two lane road. For the safety of everyone involved, do not use these roads to practice for the Indianapolis 500.
All of the specifics surrounding the Soules accident have yet to be revealed, but chances are, following these five guidelines likely would have prevented the accident from happening in the first place.