K-State Research and Extension news service


Manhattan, KS – The leader of a program that promotes safety on the farm and in rural areas is encouraging drivers to remain alert in areas where farm equipment is likely to be on the roads.


Tawnie Larson, the state’s coordinator of the Rollover Protection Structure (ROPS) program at Kansas State University, said accidents between vehicles and farm machinery is more likely to happen during planting and harvesting time because more equipment is likely to be on the roads.


“Most accidents are preventable,” Larson said, noting that a 2016 study administered by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration found that human error accounts for 94% to 96% of all auto accidents.


Collisions between farm equipment and passenger vehicles can result in pricey repairs to vehicles and equipment, but in a worst case, also result in loss of life. According to the Central States Center for Agricultural Safety and Health, there have been more than 10 fatalities and 30 serious injuries since 2012 on Kansas roadways involving passenger vehicles and farm equipment.


“Many accidents include passenger vehicles rear-ending machinery as it travels on the roadways or misjudging the width of equipment,” Larson said. “Farmers do not like to drive machinery on the roads, but sometimes it is required to get equipment from one field to another.


To prevent accidents, CS-CASH’s recommendations include:


Larson notes that rural roads are often narrow, hilly, steep and curvy with little to no shoulders. When driving on a two-lane road, she says:


Kansas Farm Bureau publishes additional safety tips for drivers of non-farm vehicles:


Those who operate farm equipment should make sure lights and flashers are working properly; know the height of the vehicle they’re driving; take care when traveling on public roads; and communicate with fellow motorists using whatever signals possible.


More safety topics and information on the Kansas Rollover Protection Structure program is available online.