Planting season places a growing number of tractors on roads

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CHICKASAW COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – There have been several tractor involved accidents on area roads in the last month.

The most recent, took the life of a man who rear-ended a farm tractor on 45 Alternate on Monday.

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Planting season is in full-swing, which means you’ve been seeing more tractors sharing the road lately.

Tractors are wide and slow-moving, but they have a right to the roadway just like any other vehicle.

“We’re out here working. If you’ve got an 8 to 5 job that you have to be to at 8 o’clock and get off at 5, well, guess what? We’re out here from daylight until dark. All we’re doing is trying to feed our family and the rest of the nation,” says farmer, Dustin Dendy.

Dendy hops in his tractor and drives down the road three to four times a day.

He may drive a half a mile or 15 to 20 miles to work his 2,000 acres of farmland.

“We try to watch the traffic coming at us and coming up behind us. When we move tractors down the road, we try to have an escort, but that’s not always possible. They have flashers on them. They have SMV signs on them, and other people have to watch us as close, as we watch them.”

But, Dendy says the problem is drivers aren’t doing that.

“I get passed going up hills all of the time. There will be three to four people behind you at one time and the last car will try to come around everybody at one time.”

And this is what being frustrated that you’re stuck behind a tractor, going too fast, or not paying attention can lead to.

Dendy says tractors can only run about 25 to 30 mph and a car going 60 mph is going to catch up to them fast.

Chickasaw County Sheriff James Meyers says if you take your eyes off the road for just a second, you could drive up on something like a tractor going slow.

“It’s either one of two things. It’s either inattention or just driving too fast and coming up on a slow-moving vehicle too fast and you know, we try to encourage everybody and we do this a lot in high-schools now, and when we talk to civic groups, cell phones.”

Meyers says Chickasaw County is a rural community and farming is part of the landscape.

He says drivers need to be patient and very careful when they see tractors or other heavy equipment.

“People just need to be aware of that. I mean, you’re liable to see a tractor any time during the day. Of course, tractors are real prevalent right now, planting season is going on. We had such a wet spring, it pushed farmers back, so now they’re really working and it could possibly be seven days a week.”

Farmers and law enforcement say it’s important to look for the tractor’s flashers and watch their blinkers when you see one driving down the road.

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