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With spring planting underway, a drive along country roads underscores the importance of the season as farmers begin getting their crops into the ground.

It’s a familiar sight for those of us who’ve spent our years in a rural community. But for young motorists just starting out, and those who are not as familiar with the impact farm equipment has on our local traffic, the key is to remember to remain aware and alert when sharing the road.

Studies show that left-turn and rear-end collisions are the most common types of crashes in this environment. The left-turn collision happens when the farm vehicle is about to make a wide left turn and the vehicle behind begins to pass. The second most common incident is the rear-end collision in which a vehicle approaches farm equipment and is unable to slow down to avoid a collision. This happens because of a large difference in travel speeds of these two types of vehicles.

For those in a car or truck, defensive-driving tips for rural roads include using your brake as if you were approaching a stop sign as soon as you see a slow-moving vehicle, looking for hand or turn signals from the farm vehicle operator and making sure you can see the farm vehicle in your rearview mirror before you get back in your lane after passing.

Staying alert and aware when traveling is key to keeping everyone safe.

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