Sugarcane harvest time is here. The mills are running and there will be an increase in farm traffic on the roadways of St. Mary Parish. Safety is especially important as farmers and motorists share the road during grinding season.
More motorists will encounter farm equipment increasing the potential for crashes. Collisions are often the result of the speed difference between passenger cars and trucks and slower moving farm equipment. Farmers should make sure that all necessary slow moving vehicle signs, reflectors, warning flashers, and lights are operating and easily visible. Motorists should be able to quickly identify farm equipment and always be ready to slow down.
- Make sure hauling equipment is secured and do not overload haulers.
- Stay alert. Stay off your cell phone and two-way radios while operating equipment on public roadways.
- Watch and listen for approaching vehicles before entering a roadway and while traveling on the roads. Vehicles will approach rapidly.
- Operate your vehicle at a safe speed.
- Watch out for pedestrians, animals, mailboxes, and steep embankments.
- Slow down when taking sharp curves.
- Be aware that there may be more traffic on the roadways in the mornings and afternoons.
- It is legal in Louisiana to operate farm machinery on public roadways.
- Stay alert. Stay off your cell phone while traveling in areas where the harvest is underway.
- Operate your vehicle at a safe speed. Farm machinery and harvest trucks travel slower than normal traffic. When you see these vehicles on the roadway, don’t wait until the last minute to begin slowing down.
- Machinery traveling partially off the roadway may suddenly move completely into the roadway. If you must pass farm equipment, determine if the road is wide enough and do so with caution
- Be sure there is adequate distance for you to pass safely
Avoid rural road rage. Use extra patience and careful driving habits. Report unsafe driving to the St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office at 337-828-1960 or 985-384-1622.
St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office
Public Information Office