Motorists traveling on Minnesota highways this spring should be aware of large farm equipment moving from farm to farm, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

“Planting season is ramping up across Minnesota, and farmers need the highways to access their fields,” said Brian Sorenson, state traffic engineer. “Motorists need to be prepared to encounter slow-moving farm vehicles, especially on rural, two-lane roads.”

According to the last three years of data, there were 386 crashes involving farm equipment in Minnesota resulting in 166 injuries and six deaths. Inattentive driving and speed were the biggest contributing factors in those crashes.

Farm equipment is large and heavy, making it hard for operators to accelerate, slow down and stop. The equipment also makes wide turns and sometimes crosses over the center line.

In addition, farm vehicles can create large blind spots, making it difficult for operators to see approaching vehicles.

Motorists should:

• Slow down and use caution when approaching farm equipment

• Watch for debris dropped by trucks. It is safer to brake or drive through debris than to veer into oncoming cars or off the road

• Wait until there is a safe place to pass

• Wear seat belts

• Drive with headlights on at all times

Farm equipment operators should:

• Use lights and flashers to make equipment more visible

• Use slow-moving vehicle emblems on equipment traveling less than 30 miles per hour

• Consider using a follow vehicle when moving equipment, especially at night