Farm equipment exhibit at State Fair will highlight road safety

Fall is one of the busiest times for farmers to move harvesting equipment on public roads, a fact Virginia Farm Bureau Federation participants would like to drive home with visitors to the State Fair of Virginia.
For the second time, the organization will host a slow-moving vehicle exhibit, in partnership with Hoober Inc.’s. farm equipment dealership in Hanover County.
Will Roberts, a Pittsylvania County young farmer, is heading up the safety exhibit. He said that farm equipment can take up multiple lanes on rural roads and drivers need to use caution.
“When I have to travel with my equipment on the road, it can be scary,” Roberts said. “People get impatient or fly up on me when I’m traveling with my equipment and it is dangerous.”
A slow-moving vehicle like a combine or a dual-wheel tractor is typically wider than one lane of a two-lane road. But farmers often have to take that equipment out on public roads to move it from field to field.
State law requires tractors and other equipment that travel 25 mph or slower to be marked with the triangular slow-moving vehicle emblem when driving on public roads. Many farmers also use flashing amber lights, reflective decals and escort vehicles to alert approaching drivers.
“I try to use an escort vehicle when I can, and if I’m able, I pull off to the side of the road so drivers can go past me,” Roberts said. “I try to have respect for drivers who need to get down the road, but I have a job to do and need to get by also.”
The safety exhibit at the fair will emphasize the need for drivers to watch for farm equipment on the roads, recognize the SMV emblem and slow down if they encounter vehicles that display the emblem.
The exhibit will be prominently placed near the Hoober equipment booth just inside the fair entrance. It’s a popular destination for families, where children of all ages are allowed to look at the modern farm equipment.
The timing is right for the display. National Farm Safety and Health Week is September 18-24, and the State Fair opens September 23 and will run through October 2.

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