5 Tips to Not be a Stupid Driver in Rural Areas

Our farm has been in the same spot for over 100 years.  We welcome all our new neighbors.

Here is what a typical Sunday afternoon looks like around our farm, mind you the traffic is 10x worse at 5:00pm on a weekday:

Tractor crossing busy highway

But there is one thing you must know if you are going to be in our community: DON”T BE A STUPID DRIVER. I say that in loving way of course. We understand that rural driving 101 is not taught in drivers education. We also understand that most people don’t have the slightest clue about how tractors and other farm  implements work. So here are five (5) tips to know so that you are not a stupid driver.  Pass them on to your friends and everyone will think you are awesome!

1: Tractors move slowly, so should you: I am just like the rest of you, I hate being late. But tractors cannot move as fast as our cars. It is important that you approach tractors and other large farm equipment with care.

2: Pay extra attention when a tractor is slowing down: A tractor slowing down can mean many things. Most often it means it is turning. So pay attention. This is not the time to pass.

3: Just because a tractor is pulling over to the right side of the road it doesn’t mean they are turning right: This is one of the most deadly mistakes of car drivers in rural areas. Often times the equipment that is trailing the tractor is very large or long. This means the tractor driver will need to make a wide left turn. Don’t assume they are turning right and try to pass at the moment. Take your time and stay behind until you know the tractor driver intentions. This past weekend a motorcycle driver almost had deadly face full of hay because he tried to pass while we were turning left.

4: If the tractor is “taking up your lane” it is not to annoy you: Tractors and equipment are big and can roll over easily. If a tractor is not using the shoulder, there is probably a reason. Maybe the gravel is loose or maybe it is really steep. Take your time and pass when it is appropriate.

5: Do Not Pass signs are NOT optional EVER:  I have been given so many mini heart attacks over the years watching drivers pass tractors in no passing zones. Last week I witnessed a school bus passing a tractor in a no passing zone nearly get smoked by an on coming driver. Yes, I yelled at him in my car!!!! If you live around us, no passing zones are usually short, just over small hills or around curves. Please, please stay behind until it is legal to pass again.

Last weekend, Tim and I hauled large round bales back from some land we rent about five miles away. This is always an interesting journey since most of the drive is on busy county roads. This time we were following our custom baler, Brent Mohn, as he attempted to drive a tractor with three bale wagons back as well. During part of the stretch there is a very steep and very slippery gravel hill. Tim and Brent were in constant communication via their phones. Tim would be able to spot trailers slipping if that happened. Brent asked me to video the event. His quote “because it would make a great YouTube video if I fall off the edge” Well he thankfully didn’t, but check out what happened.

Tractor hauling-Extreme driving

I apologize for Tim’s brashness.  That is his “farmer talk.”

So now that you know these five (5) important tips to not be a stupid driver, you will be able to navigate rural areas like a pro! The best thing you can do, is be patient, be kind and stay behind. Just think, the farmer you are following is helping you serve your family healthy locally grown foods.

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2 thoughts on “5 Tips to Not be a Stupid Driver in Rural Areas

  1. LindaG

    You wouldn’t want to try and move that load on the road in front of our small piece of land. There is a dog leg at the end of the main yard and almost everyone drives that little road like it’s a straight piece of interstate.

    Good pointers for any piece of country road.

  2. Cassy

    You know Emily I never considered what a headache traffic must be for you given your farm’s location! Good post, be safe!!

    Did you contact the school bus garage?! I’d want to know if my kid was on a bus driven by an idiot!