New traffic rule allows passing in no passing zones
Cheryl Skjolaas, Director
Wisconsin Center for Agricultural Safety
Department of Biological Systems Engineering
UW-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
New rule allows passing in no passing zones
3:13 – Total time
0:21 – New traffic law allows passing in no passing zones
0:52 – Example of when passing is allowed
1:30 – Consequences for agricultural equipment
1:51 – Road safety for harvest season
2:27 – Ag equipment has right to road
3:01 – Lead out
Drivers on rural highways need to be aware of changes in vehicle passing laws. We’re visiting today with Cheryl Skjolass, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, please explain the recent change to these traffic laws.
Cheryl Skjolass: Recent change to the state traffic laws now will allow motorists to pass vehicles in no passing zones. The one requirement is that the vehicle needs to be traveling less than half of the posted speed. The importance of this gets to be that we are moving into fall harvest time and we’re going to be having a lot of our farm equipment out on the roads, and so passing gets to be a key factor.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, can you give us an example of this situation?
Cheryl Skjolass: You’re on a rural road and it’s posted at 40 miles an hour. If that farm vehicle is traveling 20 miles an hour or less, you now could pass in a posted no passing zone. If you think about a no passing zone, it’s identified, and the warning signs are there, for the fact that there’s a blocked vision factor. Now, as a motorist, you need to determine and use proper caution, whether it still would be safe for you to pass that slow moving equipment.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, can you perhaps describe some of the potential consequences of this change?
Cheryl Skjolass: As you look and make those decisions about, “Is this a safe passing?” that you may not be able to see around that large farm equipment. You may not get a distance that’s long enough to allow you to safely pass that farm equipment.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, are there things that our agricultural producers should do?
Cheryl Skjolass: We also want to look at our lighting and marking. Having all the SMV’s clean and clear. Potentially adding a four-inch amber strobe light just to make yourself more visible. Being sure that all flashers and warning lights are in place and working, and being sure that as you’re making those turns that you’re using the proper signals. If you do not have turn signals on your equipment to be sure that you’re using hand signals so that you’re communicating and allowing that driver behind you to know your intentions.
Sevie Kenyon: Cheryl, why is it agricultural equipment doesn’t just get out of the way?
Cheryl Skjolass: For agricultural equipment, they have the right to be in the lane and traveling on the road. Part of the reason that you don’t just get out of the way and go to the shoulder is that it might be unsafe for handling the weight of that tractor and even if a farm equipment starts to shift to the right it could be that they’re changing their road position so that they’re going to be able to make a left hand turn, and that’s one situation where we see a lot of crashes is with those left hand turns and somebody misreading their shifting of the lane and how that motor vehicle or driver behind them could be passing.
Sevie Kenyon: We’ve been visiting with Cheryl Skjolass, Department of Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin Extension in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Madison, WI and I’m Sevie Kenyon.