Back off when following farm equipment on road

North Cowichan – It’s spring in the Cowichan Valley.

The smell of fresh cut hay and the smell of manure in the air.

This also means tractors are on the rural roads. Inside every one of those tractors is a person, someone’s husband, son, brother and yes, girls even drive tractors, so it could be a mother, sister or daughter.

I have been a farmer’s wife for 15 years, the mother of a wanna be farmer for 14, and I myself have driven every piece of farming equipment we own on main roads for the same amount of time.

My husband (then boyfriend) was severely injured 18 years ago while driving a tractor on Herd Road.

This season already we have been given the finger, sworn at, yelled at and swerved at, all while driving at minimum a 20,000-pound vehicle – that’s if it doesn’t have any attachments. These vehicles drive slowly usually around 35-40 km. They cannot stop as quickly as your car, truck or SUV.

Every farmer you talk to that drives equipment on paved roads has experienced at least one near devastating accident – probably this season.

We had an incident on Osborne Bay Road; recently we were moving two tractors to a field and both tractors turned on their appropriate left turn signals and were approaching their exit when the vehicle following them attempted to pass them on the left, the driver was pushed off to the shoulder, luckily no one was hurt – this time.

The driver of the vehicle then yelled, cursed and made rude gestures to the tractor operators.

During the spring and summer months please slow down, back off a little, take the time to enjoy the beautiful rural area that you are driving through.

These people are feeding you; give them a little respect on the road. These people are your neighbours; 13 per cent of all farm related fatalities are traffic related.

Jen Woike

North Cowichan