Remember rural road safety during the holidays

December 15, 2020

Colder weather brings holiday wishes and parties celebrating the end of another year - which may be needed more this year than any other in our recent history. Visions of cornucopias on holiday tables and donation boxes overflowing with food flood the latter part of our fall season as winter begins to arrive in full force. 

To me, this is a perfect reminder that Delaware farmers are working hard behind the scenes to prepare your next feast, whether you’re gearing up for a full house or a smaller, more intimate gathering.

In spite of the colder temperatures, drivers in the First State will continue seeing farm equipment on the road, assuring them that local agriculture producers are #StillFarming as the holidays approach and the pandemic continues. 

To make this effort work regardless of the season, farmers need help from motorists – we need you to remember that farmers are on the road transporting products or traveling between their fields. 

Rural road safety is something most people don’t think about until they inevitably end up behind a combine, tractor or other piece of equipment. Murphy’s Law might even suggest that this typically happens when you’re on a tight schedule for the day. 

As a farmer myself and the president of the Delaware Farm Bureau, I urge you to drive carefully at all times and to remember a few things when driving on rural roads this holiday season:

Slow down. Be patient. We all have a destination. 

While approaching curves in the road, slow down and keep your eye out for incoming traffic. 

When you see a Slow Moving Vehicle emblem, slow down, observe your surroundings and pass only when it is safe for your vehicle and theirs. The SMV emblem is a bright orange triangle with a red border to make it easy for other drivers to see while on the move.

Be mindful of areas on the road where it is illegal to pass other vehicles. 

Watch for signals from the farmer that he or she is turning. Older equipment may not have turn signals.

Be far enough behind the farm equipment that you can see the mirrors. Don’t assume that the farmer can see you. If you can’t see their mirrors, they cannot see you.

Always follow local driving laws like wearing a seat belt and obeying the speed limit.

We all have a job to get done. On the road, our job (and yours) is to arrive to our next destination safely. Thank you for helping Delaware farmers be safe in our travels on the road so we can continue to farm to feed us all.

Richard Wilkins is president of the Delaware Farm Bureau Board.
  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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