Valley farmer urges people to drive safely around farm equipment on the roads

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 5:29 PM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 6:04 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - A Valley farmer is asking people to be cautious around industrial farm vehicles on the road and to think about the lives at stake in case of an accident.

Farmers across the Valley operate heavy machinery and equipment in order to farm efficiently. These industrial farm machines have to be driven on the road to go from one field to the next, causing issues for drivers and farmers alike.

“The vast majority of the accidents with farm equipment typically end up with someone getting seriously injured,” Bradley Dunsmore, a farmer in Augusta County, said. “I just don’t think it’s worth that for somebody when you’re talking about saving two or three minutes.”

Industrial farm equipment can weigh up to Ten tons (20,000 pounds). Dunsmore said a small car is going to “stand no chance” against a large farm vehicle in an accident. He also said people should be patient and slow down around farm equipment to avoid anything dangerous or life threatening from happening.

“Even if you’re on a main road that has a speed limit of 60 miles per hour, most of today’s farm equipment is going 25 to 30 miles per hour and some of them may go even fast,” Dunsmore said. “At the very most, someone is looking at being slowed down by five minutes.”

Ken Slack, communications specialist at the Virginia Department of Transportation in Staunton, said patience is essential to maintaining safety and the lives of both the driver and the farmer.

“Be patient, share the roadway, and don’t crowd them and come up at their bumper trying to intimidate them to get off the roadway so you can go around them,” Slack said.

Dunsmore said the majority of farming happens within five miles of the homestead of the farmer. He often would have two or more people passing him while he was mere seconds away from his driveway.

“There’s times that people see the emergency flashing lights that they really slow down and take their time and slowly approach,” Dunsmore said. “These are very large pieces of equipment and are going to go slower than what your typical car is.”

Dunsmore said it’s best to give extra distance behind a farm vehicle and wait to pass until it is completely safe to do so.