Car Accidents with Farm Equipment on Public Roads in Maryland: When Lifestyles and Vehicles Collide

Fifty years ago, Farmer John owned the Maryland farm land that he plowed and tilled, planted and harvested. He worked from sun up to sun down within the confines of his own property. Therefore, the Maryland farmer of yesteryear had no reason to take his farm vehicles out onto the public roadways.

That’s all changed now — creating challenges for both farmers and motorists to avoid serious car accidents with farm equipment on rural Md. roadways.

The dynamic of farming has changed as suburbia has spread into rural Maryland — into small towns in Carroll County and Howard County, Md.; Harford, Cecil, and Kent County, Md., among others. Homeowners buy up what once were huge farms and then subdivide their property, leasing out parcels of land to working Maryland farmers. These farmers must then drive their tractors, combines, and other agricultural vehicles to get from one parcel of land to the next. That’s when accidents with motor vehicles can happen.

When Cars, Farm Machinery, and Livestock Meet on Maryland Roadways
Auto accidents with farm machinery in Maryland happen for many of the same reasons that car and livestock accidents occur. People working in Baltimore City are hurrying to and from work. They’re busy and on tight schedules. They’re not prepared to encounter a multi-ton piece of machinery (or a cow or bison, for that matter) as they round the bend in the road.

Farmers work by a different set of rules. They’re up before sunrise and nothing they do is meant to be done fast — including driving their farm equipment on the roads in Md. That was perfectly fine twenty years ago when those backwater byways were truly “the roads less traveled.” But now we have double the volume of cars on Maryland back roads — which are narrow, hilly, pocked with ditches, lined by fences and trees, and with no street lights. AND punctuated with farm equipment. Maryland drivers in a hurry to get somewhere may try to pass or get around these enormous vehicles. That’s when serious accidents can happen.

Maryland farm equipment accident lawyers see a lot of these kinds of rural car accidents — where motorists unaccustomed to driving around country roads and harvesting machinery are involved in serious road accidents. At the same time, farmers driving agricultural equipment must abide by the rules of the road in Maryland. This is why we recommend you contact an experienced Baltimore County, Md. car accident injury attorney when this type of road accident with farm vehicles and machines occurs. These cases can be complicated in both the eyes of the law and the insurance companies.

Related Web Resource

USDA: Agricultural Equipment on Public Roads (white paper — PDF)