Farmers and ranchers are out and about in their tractors and other over-sized machinery and officials are once again warning about roadway safety.
While urban areas in Nebraska account fortwice as many crashes as in rural parts of the state, the fatality rate on rural roads is threetimes higher than in urban areas.
In order to make rural roads a safer place to be, officials with the University of Nebraska Extension Office has a few tips to share.
Drivers should remain aware when traveling in rural areas, especially looking out for slow moving farm machinery, vehicles that are wider and longer than cars and pickups making passing impossible in some areas, and special rural road conditions -- gravel roads with soft shoulders, narrow bridges, blind intersections and loose gravel.
And while motorists should remain vigilant, it is also important for those operating the farm equipment to be a part of the safety equation.
Machineryoperators should make sure their machines are visible, which includes having proper lighting, like turn signals, headlights, flashingambers and taillights. Other operator tasks include:
- Check SMV signs – they need to be in placeand CLEAN.
- Pre-operation checks should be a habit, notan afterthought. Brakes, steering,hitches, and other parts must be in good working order.
- Machinery operators should insist on NOExtra Riders – not only is there danger for the passenger, but they can be adistraction on the road.
Something both motorists and machinery operators can do to reduce the number of fatalities on rural roads in to wear seat belts.