September and October is harvest season for many farmers in Louisiana and around the country, which means large and heavy agricultural vehicles are common sights on what are normally quiet country roads. Tractors, harvesters and loaders rarely travel faster than 20 mph, but they can weigh almost as much as a fully loaded tractor-trailer. While accidents involving such vehicles are relatively rare, they tend to cause serious injury or death when they do occur.

Slow down

The best thing drivers can do to avoid collisions with farm vehicles is to slow down. Tractors and other agricultural machines are designed to operate in fields rather than on roads, which means that they are not capable of stopping or changing direction quickly. Drivers should also understand that farm vehicles travel very slowly. Many accidents involving agricultural vehicles are caused by drivers who fail to slow down after noticing a tractor or loader a hundred or more yards ahead.

Five times as deadly

A study conducted by the New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health in April 2020 reveals how serious accidents involving farm vehicles can be. After scrutinizing 203 agriculture-related collisions, the researchers discovered that the fatality rate in accidents involving farm vehicles is five times higher than the fatality rate in accidents involving other vehicle types. They also found that these accidents occur most frequently on straight roads in good weather.

Holding negligent drivers responsible

The damages awarded in lawsuits involving truck accidents may be high when the vehicle struck by a reckless driver was being used for work. While tractor or tractor-trailer drivers may escape collisions with cars or SUVs without serious injury, they could lose significant income if vehicles they rely on to earn a living are out of service for lengthy periods. When pursuing civil remedies on behalf of a farmer or truck driver who was injured due to the negligent actions of others, experienced personal injury attorneys may calculate damages with great care to ensure that they seek sufficient compensation for their client’s lost income.