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Safely transport oversize loads

Farm safety: Tips to get your equipment to the field and back again

With larger farm equipment comes larger transportation challenges. Equipment wider than highway lanes poses a hazard to not only the equipment operator, but also to other motor vehicle operators. Tall equipment can come into contact with low-hanging wires, bridges and other vital pieces of infrastructure.

Collisions with other vehicles is a major concern while transporting all farm equipment on public roadways, but the danger is compounded when the load is wider and taller than infrastructure can accommodate. Not only are collisions with other motor vehicles a concern, so are collisions with infrastructure like guard rails, power and telephone wires, bridges, and rail crossing marker

Understanding some key points and taking some precautions can help you get oversized loads from the farmyard to the field and back again.

Take the time to perform a pre-operational check of the equipment you will be transporting. Ensure that all lights are working and that any warning signs are in good condition and affixed. Before heading out, make sure to plan the route carefully. Take a drive and see what infrastructure is on your route. Make note of the heights and widths of low wires, bridges, signs and other potential obstacles. If the load you are transporting is going to come into contact with any infrastructure, plan another route. (If you are unsure of the clearance under overhead lines, call your power utility.)

You may need a pilot vehicle for some oversized loads. If you are travelling on a route with hills, blind curves or other road features that restrict sight lines, a pilot vehicle is mandatory. You may want to consider using a pilot vehicle when going a further distance or on a public roadway that experiences high traffic volumes. The pilot vehicle will give other drivers warning that you are coming along with an oversized load. (It’s a good idea to research the laws applicable in your jurisdiction regarding pilot vehicles.)

It’s often difficult to see if there is a motor vehicle following you. When trying to determine if a vehicle is following behind you, don’t suddenly swerve right to move your load out of your sight line. This could be misunderstood to a motor vehicle operator behind you that it is safe to pass and could result in a collision. Instead, if you need to know, pull over to the right as far as possible, park and get up from the operator’s seat and carefully look around your load. While driving on public roadways, make sure to watch for other motor vehicles. They may be uncertain how to behave when approaching or trying to pass you.

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