Sugarcane harvest begins, farmers and motorists urged to share the roads this fall

Photo: St. Mary Parish Sheriff's Office

MARY PARISH, La. (KLFY)- Sugarcane harvest time is here, and St. Mary Parish deputies say it’s important to share the road.

Motorist will encounter farm equipment starting soon and deputies said that increases the potential for crashes. Motorist should always be ready to slow down unexpectedly while on the road.

According to a news release, Collisions are often the result of the speed difference between passenger vehicles and slower moving farm equipment.

Deputies ask that farmers make sure that all necessary slow moving vehicle signs, reflectors, warning flashers, and lights are operating and easily visible.

Some tips authorities give for this upcoming harvest season is to avoid rural road rage, use extra patience and careful driving habits.

For Harvesters

  • Make sure hauling equipment is secured and do not overload haulers.
  • Stay alert. Stay off your cell phone and two-way radios while operating equipment on public roadways.
  • Watch and listen for approaching vehicles before entering a roadway and while traveling on the roads. Vehicles will approach rapidly.
  • Operate your vehicle at a safe speed.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, animals, mailboxes, and steep embankments.
  • Slow down when taking sharp curves.
  • Be aware that there may be more traffic on the roadways in the mornings and afternoons.

For motorists

  • It is legal in Louisiana to operate farm machinery on public roadways.
  • Stay alert. Stay off your cell phone while traveling in areas where the harvest is underway.
  • Operate your vehicle at a safe speed. Farm machinery and harvest trucks travel slower than normal traffic. When you see these vehicles on the roadway, don’t wait until the last minute to begin slowing down.
  • Machinery traveling partially off the roadway may suddenly move completely into the roadway. If you must pass farm equipment, determine if the road is wide enough and do so with caution
  • Be sure there is adequate distance for you to pass safely

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