As another Wisconsin fall harvest season gets underway, Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection and Department of Transportation officials ask motorists and farm vehicle operators to be patient and share the road.

“Agriculture supports more than 413,000 jobs in Wisconsin and contributes more than $88 billion annually to our state’s economy,” DATCP Secretary Sheila Harsdorf said in a DOT news release. “It’s important that during the next several weeks, as farmers are working day and night to harvest crops and complete field work, that those on our roadways exercise caution and patience to ensure safety for all.”

“Safety along our roadways requires that everyone do their part,” WisDOT Secretary Dave Ross said in the release. “Motorists should provide farm vehicles extra room to operate and anticipate the possibility they may slow down or turn. Ag vehicle operators should ensure they use appropriate lights, signage and signals, and comply with weight restrictions.”

Motorist responsibilities:

  • Scan the road ahead and be ready to slow down when you see slow-moving farm vehicles.
  • Be patient and very cautious if you decide to pass. In Wisconsin, it is illegal to pass an ag vehicle in a no passing zone.
  • When passing, consider the possibility of the farmer turning left onto a roadway, driveway or field entrance.

Ag vehicle operator responsibilities:

  • Know the lighting and marking requirements for ag vehicles. These requirements draw attention to the unique size, shape and speed of ag vehicles and alert motorists that caution is required. When traveling on a roadway, stay as far to the right as safely possible.
  • Be familiar with road weight restrictions. DATCP provides a statewide map with information about weight limits. More information about related permits, exemption and weight limits can be found on the WisDOT website.

Since 2011, there have been 1,280 reported crashes involving motorists and farm vehicles in Wisconsin resulting in 640 injuries and 21 fatalities, according to the DOT.