Mary Beth Lieb wishes everyone who eats food would keep in mind that farmers need to get to the fields, especially in the spring and fall.

Sometimes that trip means driving a tractor and plow or a manure spreader on a highway, and that’s where the trouble begins, said the Nicktown farmer.

“They all like to eat, but they don’t have much respect for our work,” she said. “They don’t want to be inconvenienced.”

Lieb isn’t alone in her concerns about farm equipment and cars and trucks.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau has designated the week beginning Sunday as Rural Roads Safety Week in an effort to draw attention to the importance of farming and asks motorists to slow down in rural areas during the spring and fall when field work is most prevalent.

The Cambria County Farm Bureau is taking up the banner, asking motorists on rural roads to be mindful that a piece of agricultural land could be around the next corner.

“We’re trying to make the motoring public aware, now that spring is coming, they’re going to see slow-moving vehicles like tractors on the road, and one of them could be over the next rise or around the next bend,” said Martin Yahner, Cambria County Farm Bureau information director.

While the farm equipment may be the slow-moving vehicle on the highway, when another vehicle, especially a car, collides with it, those in the car are more likely to receive the greatest injury, Yahner said.

“When a car comes up behind him, the tractor driver won’t get hurt, but chances are the motorist will,” he said.

Speed on rural roads during spring and fall is a real concern for Karissa Itle Westrick of Vale Wood Farms in Loretto.

“Sometimes visibility is so limited. We just want them (motorists) to give the farm equipment some space,” she said. “When you see a tractor on the road, they’re just going for a short time.”

Chances are the tractor will be on the highway just until the farmer gets to the next field or to the barn.

“”You’re not going to be behind them for 10 miles or so,” Itle Westrick said.

Vale Wood is especially aware of the need to slow down on roads that usually carry a speed limit of 25 to 35 mph, she said.

“Our farm was here first. The road was put in later, and we have to cross that road many times a day,” she said.

Rural Roads Safety Week also is a good time to remind property owners about the proper use of the reflective triangles that must be displayed on the back of all farm equipment while on the highway, Yahner said.

They are for use on slow-moving vehicles only and considered illegal if used to mark mailboxes or designate driveways, he said.

“It dilutes the impact of the reflective triangle,” Yahner said.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

Trending Video

Recommended for you