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Drivers need warning: KAP

Impatient drivers on Manitoba highways are giving members of Keystone Agricultural Producers the willies.

After several close calls, members of Manitoba’s main general farm group have called on Manitoba Public Insurance and the provincial Highways Department to do more to warn drivers of the risks of travelling too close and too fast past slow-moving farm equipment.

Deloraine-area farmer Brian Van Mackelberg has seen cars rush up behind his combine or seeder then swerve and pass with inches to spare.

What those drivers don’t understand is that the driver of this large farm equipment can neither speed up nor pull closer to the side of the road, said Van Mackelberg. He’s also witnessed drivers race past while approaching a bridge so they won’t have to follow behind at his slower pace. It’s hair raising and an accident waiting to happen, said Van Mackelberg.

“Basically people are not slowing down. I don’t want to be injured and I don’t want anyone else to be either.”

Drivers can also be rude. He’s been flipped the finger on occasion.

Chuck Fossay, chair of KAP’s transportation committee said more frequent warnings at the onset and during peak farm season might help remind drivers they need to pass with caution, and to realize farm equipment is slower moving and wider than they may realize.

Ads on stations such as CTV and KAP’s own PSA safety message aired by Golden West Radio do try to warn drivers of this, Fossay said. But the reach of this message needs to be wider.

“I personally would like to see a much larger audience, and have other TV stations carry these PSAs, and more radio stations as well.”

Fossay said he’s had his own share of close calls when he’s had to take a combine out on the Trans-Canada. Semis and passenger vehicles pass at top speed with only two or three feet clearance, he said.

“If you happened to swing onto the highway, because you’re driving around a signpost or something, there could quite easily be an accident,” he said.

KAP passed a resolution at its annual meeting in January asking that Manitoba Public Insurance Corporation and Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation implement a slow-moving agricultural equipment awareness and safety campaign.

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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