Question: I have a rather random, but seasonally appropriate question: with harvest season upon us and with slow moving farm vehicles/implements on roadways, is it permissible to pass a slow-moving farm implement on Minnesota highways in a delineated no-passing zone? If passing is prohibited, maybe this is something to feature in the ‘Ask a Trooper’ segments in various media outlets.
Answer: This is perfect timing going into harvest season. Chances are motorists will encounter slow moving farm vehicles in the next few months.
Passing in a “no-passing zone” is not only dangerous, it’s illegal. A motorist must wait until it is legal and safe. In these cases, patience is a must.
From 2016 to 2018, there were seven fatalities and 385 crashes involving at least one farm vehicle in Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s crash data. Of the seven fatalities, one was a farm vehicle rider. Of the 154 injuries, 50 were farm vehicle riders.
• Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment. Don’t assume the operator can see you.
• Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming traffic or off the road.
• Wait for a safe and legal place to pass.
Farm equipment operators should:
• Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible.
• Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 mph.
• Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night.
• Properly secure your load.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws or issues in Minnesota, send your questions to Sgt. Neil Dickenson – Minnesota State Patrol at 1131 Mesaba Ave Duluth, MN 55811 (or reach him at Neil.Dickenson@state.mn.us).