As Pennsylvanians know, rural roads abound throughout the state, especially right here in Berks County and the adjacent counties such as Schuylkill, Lancaster, Lehigh, and Lebanon. The roads less traveled present special problems for motorists, including having to share the road with farm equipment and horse-drawn vehicles and carriages. Also, a lot of rural roads provide less room for maneuvering, and divers are oftentimes confronted with loose gravel and grassy shoulders, along with sharp inclines/declines/dips and turns which seem to appear out of nowhere. This means that danger can be just around the corner.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has the following safety tips for sharing the road with slow-moving vehicles:

  • When you see a horse-drawn vehicle or any vehicle with a fluorescent orange triangle, slow down right away and continue to keep a safe distance.
  • Do not pass a vehicle that is moving slowly when:
    • You are unable to have a clear view ahead of you and the car, truck, bus, or motorcycle you want to pass.
    • The road ahead has curves or hills.
    • You are in a posted No Passing Zone.
    • An intersection, railroad crossing, bridge, tunnel, or any elevated structure are within 100 feet of you.

As far as encountering a slow-moving vehicle is concerned, PennDOT offers the following additional pointers for the safety of everyone sharing the road:

  • Never assume that a vehicle operator is letting you pass if they pull to the right. They may simply be giving themselves enough room to make a left turn.
  • Drivers of farm vehicles most often have a clearer view of oncoming traffic, and they are oftentimes willing to let drivers know when passing can safely take place, as long as they know that another driver is behind them. You can use your horn to let the driver of the farm vehicle know where you are.
  • If you come upon a horse-drawn buggy or carriage from the rear and/or when passing it, make sure to keep a good deal of distance between your vehicle and the horse-drawn vehicle and only use your low beams and never sound your horn since it could frighten the horse.
  • Always be ready to stop and keep a careful watch.

Some other helpful hints from PennDOT about farm and horse-drawn vehicles are as follows:

  • Keep alert for mailboxes, road signs, and bridges since operators of farm equipment and horse-drawn vehicles may need to move to the middle of the road and possibly across the center line to avoid such obstacles.
  • Be extra careful in the fall and spring when farm vehicles are more likely to be on the road for planting and harvesting seasons.
  • Always remember that farm and horse-drawn vehicles have the same right to use the public roads of Pennsylvania as operators of cars, trucks, buses, and motorcycles.

The attorneys at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of the motoring public in Reading, Berks County, Pottsville, Schuylkill County, and throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. The personal injury lawyers near Philadelphia serve auto, truck, and motorcycle accident victims and their families in claims and cases involving serious injury and death caused by the negligence of others. The firm also handles workers’ compensation cases, medical malpractice cases, and nursing home neglect cases.

From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire.

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