It’s the kick off of farming season in Jefferson County.
Tuesday the Jefferson County Farm Bureau was out in the community giving away gift bags to raise awareness of the rural road rules.
Dan Park is the president of the county farm bureau He takes care of one thousand acres of land, which means driving on the roads is inevitable “We have about 27 different farms in about a seven-mile radius from our home farm. So we’re constantly up and down the road and moving to get to different farms,” says Park.
Park says drivers don’t realize most of the farmer’s equipment has similar dimensions to a tractor-trailer. “A lot of this equipment is over 15 feet wide 30 to 40 feet long,” adds Park.
The size attribute to accidents becoming life or death situations. Chairman of the farm bureau, Todd Thompson, says one of the biggest problems is operators can’t always see the drivers. “They always think the farmer knows they’re back there and they’re really not,” says Thompson.
If you follow a tractor going 20 miles an hour for two miles, that’s an extra six minutes. Park says that’s about the same amount of time you would spend at two stoplights. According to Park, “It takes a lot of time on the roads and you just have to be a little patient. It’s really hard with larger equipment to pull off the roads and let traffic by”
They say to look for the orange triangle as a signal and keep a cars length away. Slow down to 20 miles per hour and only pass when it’s safe for you and the machine.
Park says some drivers get frustrated. “They say well you shouldn’t be on the road but you know we need to make a livelihood too.”
Punxsutawney State Police were on hand to help spread the word. They say they will be enforcing the rural road rules throughout the season.