Spring planting is just beginning in many areas, and that means a lot more farm equipment is about to be out and about on our nation’s roads. Farm equipment operators have a few ways to ensure they stay safe during this busy time of the year, but regular drivers need to be extra diligent, too.

“Drivers are urged to exercise caution and drive defensively, especially when agricultural equipment is present,” according to Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative of Country Financial. “Farmers are under an intense amount of pressure during planting season. Caution and patience are key.”

Many crashes with farm equipment involve sideswipes and angle crashes, Vanasdale says. The most common accidents occur when a driver either attempts to pass a slow-moving vehicle, or when a driver doesn’t realize a farmer is turning or stopping.

Country Financial shares the following six best practices for drivers sharing the road with farm equipment this spring.

1. Follow state driving laws.

2. Decrease speed and approach farm equipment carefully.

3. Don’t pass farm equipment in no-passing zones.

4. Farm equipment is sometimes wider than what is visible from behind. That makes it difficult to see if there is traffic approaching from the opposite direction.

5. Follow farm equipment at a safe distance.

6. Look into alternative routes during peak commuting times (often, sunrise and sunset).

“We all share the responsibility of making our roads safe,” Vanasdale says. “We can do our part by driving defensively and avoiding dangerous situations as much as possible.”

For additional safety tips for farm equipment operators, click here.