Perhaps there is no prettier place to drive than on the rural roads of Wisconsin, especially at this time of year when nature is lush and green. You may know that, despite the loveliness of nature, you still must exercise caution when you drive. You never know when a deer or other wildlife will cross your path.
However, another hazard to deal with on a rural Wisconsin road is farming equipment. While spring and fall are the most common times to encounter implements of husbandry (IOH), you may come upon them anytime you are driving. Surprisingly, the equipment itself is not the only danger. Other drivers may not know how to behave when sharing the road with an IOH.
A farmer's right to the road
Imagine you are driving along a narrow road, and you see a tractor, combine, or other large machinery heading toward you in the other lane. There is room for both vehicles to proceed safely, but suddenly, another vehicle darts from behind the farm equipment and into your lane, attempting to pass the tractor. What results is a potential catastrophe that may include a head-on collision or other accident that leaves you injured all because another driver did not follow the rules of the road regarding IOHs. This includes the following:
- Farm equipment has the same rights to the road as your vehicle.
- IOHs move much slower than normal traffic, so driving too fast on a rural road may not allow enough time to slow down before a collision.
- If an IOH is traveling in a no-passing zone, it is against the law to pass it.
- The operator of an IOH may be unable to safely pull over to allow you to pass.
- Farm equipment must have appropriate warning lights and reflectors.
- Older equipment may not have high-tech warning devices.
- Drivers should be alert for hand signals from those operating an IOH.
- Agricultural equipment may be on the road any day of the week and any time of day.
Accidents while passing farm equipment are among the most common, as are those involving a left-turning IOH. An IOH operator may need to swerve right in order to safely make a sharp left turn, and another vehicle trying to get past may collide with the IOH. Last year in Wisconsin alone, over 70 people died in accidents involving farm equipment.
If you suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a traffic accident involving an IOH, you may want answers. Whether the accident resulted from the negligence of an IOH operator or the reckless actions of another driver, a skilled attorney can help you seek the compensation you deserve.