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4 May 2014 - It’s Time for a Safety Reminder

Now that we are well into another crop year all across the country, it’s time for my annual sermon on safety on the farm, the ranch, and on rural roads & highways. It’s also a reminder to make sure you have all of your safety equipment mounted and working on all the farm equipment you will be moving on a public highway.

To my city friends, it’s a reminder that if you are out to enjoy the Spring scenery in the rural countryside, slow down and enjoy it. You never know if there will be a tractor and corn planter over the next hill or around the next curve that will require a sudden slowdown on your part.

Now, let me describe what I held in my hands when I delivered this sermon on my RFD-TV television show this week. The item was made of a heavy plastic material in the shape of a triangle. It had a deep red border and a fluorescent orange center.

Let me explain to you what this item is NOT! It is NOT to be attached to a mailbox post or a tree to mark your driveway entrance at night; it is NOT to be used on a gate; it is NOT to be used on the back of a pickup truck! This triangle is for use ONLY ON A VEHICLE THAT IS MOVING AROUND 20 MILES AN HOUR OR LESS. That is why we call it a SLOW MOVING VEHICLE EMBLEM or SMV. It is state law in many states across the country that this is the only legal use of this emblem, and if you use it in any other way, you are breaking the law. It makes me especially angry when I see it used by farmers to mark their driveways because it diminishes the meaning of the emblem which is to save people from injury and death.

Remember, tractors travel about 20-MPH; if you are driving a vehicle doing 55, 60 or 70-MPH coming over the hill or around the bend, you have very little reaction time to prevent a tragedy. That is why every year we see stories of collisions between slow-moving farm equipment and automobiles that often result in severe injury or death for the farmer or the car driver or both. Don’t let that happen to you

So if you are a producer, make sure you have the SMV clearly displayed, and have your lighting and turn signals in place and working. And when possible, pull to the side of the road to let that string of cars behind you pass; impatient drivers cause accidents.

Urban drivers, if you are driving a vehicle on a country road, slow down and pay attention. Farmers and their slow moving equipment have every legal right to share that highway with you and they need to do that this time of year to get those crops planted. One final thought...if and when I retire, I think I will buy a case of black paint and travel the country to spray- paint every SMV nailed to a mailbox post!

Be safe!

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.