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DOT asks drivers to use caution on roads as harvest begins

BISMARCK — Harvest season is underway, and that means large farm equipment will be on the road.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation is reminding motorists to use caution when they meet farm equipment on highways.

“Motorists should be extremely cautious as they drive, especially on rural, two-lane roads, as slow-moving farm equipment is out on the roadways,” DOT Safety Division Director Karin Mongeon said in news release. “Most crashes are due to inattention, speeding and unsafe passing. When approaching farm equipment, motorists need to pay attention, slow down and pass with extreme caution.”

There was one fatal crash and 15 injury crashes last year in North Dakota involving farm equipment, according to the release. Crashes can be prevented by taking extra precautions and safely sharing the road with farmers, Mongeon said.

Motorists should watch for mud and debris from farm equipment, drive with headlights on when needed and wear seatbelts.

Farmers are also reminded to check equipment weight for highways and be aware of construction projects as some roads may be inaccessible to large machinery. Ten percent extra weight permits can be issued through the DOT to expedite the first haul of farm products during harvest.

Farmers should use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible, use slow-moving emblems for equipment that cannot travel more than 30 mph and consider using a vehicle to follow equipment, especially at night.

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