Out of the Field, A Farmer’s Guide to Sharing the Road

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Out of the Field, A Farmer’s Guide to Sharing the Road

A Blog by Andy Johnson

Tractor’s (and the farmers who drive them) are happiest when they are in the field. However, sometimes we got to switch fields. This is a guide on how to deal with us when we have to share the road with all of you.


I pull the tractor out of the field. I now have an 8 mile drive to our other farm. My tractor is not built for roads, but here I go. I am wide. I take up a lot of the road. To make things even worse I am slow. I am ruining your day as you get stuck behind me. I am making you late. Farmers and tractors prefer to be in fields away from cars, mailboxes, road signs, and guard rails. Let’s make the best of it shall we? Most of you are clueless about what to do when I waltz my tractor into your life in the middle of a county road. Take some time to help me, help you, so we may get out of each other’s way as soon as possible.

This is the most important thing you will read all day. This needs to be said. You need to learn this, to understand this. This is for both of our benefits. Go get a pencil and paper, you should be taking notes. Ready? File Oct 01, 5 58 20 AM

First things first. I don’t want to be here either, but some of you make my head hurt and my life hard. Some of your logic makes me worry about the future of the human race. Let me drop some knowledge and let you know what I need out of you when we meet on the road.

I’m happiest when there is absolutely no one behind me and no one approaching me. I take up the whole road and it doesn’t bother anyone. It’s like a super long skinny field that I just go down the very middle as fast as I can. Too bad good things can’t last forever. Someone always has to mess this up for me. Let’s talk about a couple of things so we can make the best of it.

First scenario: One oncoming car approaching.

What should happen: Maintain your current speed and get over as far as you reasonably can. I will look for an opportunity to get over in time for you to pass. It’s on me. You do you. I’ll take care of it. Please understand that I will move over as you approach, but if you are a half mile away I’m keeping this whole road to myself for a little while longer, but we’re good. I see you. Proceed. Maintain course!

What dumb things often happen. You see me and pull over:

NO!!! Now I have to pretend that you are doing me a favor when I pass you. You’re not. Remember, I’m happiest when there is nobody in front of me or behind me. Now I have to look at you while I continue forward at a tractor’s pace. You screwed up. You also probably picked a really dumb place to pull over. “Oh look a small driveway where I can barely put the right side of my car off the road! I wonder if that mailbox directly across from where I parked will be an issue?” Facepalm. It is an issue. Now I have to play Shoot the Gap because you decided to set up an obstacle course for me. I’ll narrowly miss your side view mirror and the mailbox by a couple of inches because I am a pro. You will give me a dirty look because I brought the tractor much closer to your car than you had anticipated in a heroic effort to miss the mailbox, and I’ll give you a fake waive for being such a good “helper”. We will both be irritated.

2nd scenario: One car approaches me from the rear.

What should happen: Look for an opportunity to pass me as soon as you safely can. When there is an opening and I move over, pass me quickly and confidently. Continue on your way. If I am not moving over I am probably giving my self some room to miss an upcoming road sign or other obstacle. When it’s clear, I will move over and give you your chance. Thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.

What dumb things often happen: I get a Sunday driver. You aren’t in a hurry and are content to just follow me at my speed.

You are the worst. I now have to pretend to stay in the right lane and hug the right shoulder. I would rather just drive down the middle. You are the reason traffic is now backing up behind me. Just because you aren’t in a hurry doesn’t mean the now seventeen other cars behind you aren’t in a hurry. Here’s what going to happen. The guy eighteen cars back is going to think it’s lame that you don’t have the stones to pass me (which it is). He will now attempt to pass all seventeen cars and me before the oncoming car pops over the hill and hits him head on. Hopefully he will get lucky and some guy will let him back in the line, or the oncoming guy gets over and we make this two lane road a three lane road. Sometimes this stunt actually works and the guy makes the pass. I usually don’t see this happening until the last second. I do my best to expertly get out of the way just in the nick of time. This usually inspires just enough courage for the Sunday driver to turn into……

The scaredycat passer.

I just passed a mailbox and now I have a quarter mile section of road before the next road sign. I can now move way over giving you plenty of space to safely pass me and continue on your way. I move over with no oncoming traffic in sight. It’s now GO TIME! You very hesitantly move over to the left. I think to myself, “You can do it buddy!!!” You now pass me .5 mph faster than what I am traveling. “Really? Go faster!” I panic as the road sign is fast approaching. You slow down to waive at me as a thank you for getting over. I now have to break to allow you to continue passing to avoid having to pay for some state property. Thanks buddy! Now go in your marry way please.

Third scenario: I have my blinker on and am attempting to turn left with cars behind me.

What should happen: You let me turn left.

What dumb things often happen: You decide to pass me at the exact moment I start to make my left turn into my farm. You realize that your car will not win this collision and smartly break to avoid an accident. I look at you and point to my blinker while you look at me in the wrong lane.

Remember the guy from earlier who passed all seventeen cars and me because he got impatient? Sometimes the reason cars aren’t passing me is because the see my turn signal is on. This guy may now pass all the cars just in time to run into the side of my attached baler. Please, please look for my signal before you pass. Balers are expensive. You don’t want to pay for ours.

Special scenario: Overpasses.

I need to cross. Sorry.

What should happen: Unfortunately, there is only room for me or you. Not both. I will wait until I think I can make it. I will go as fast as I can and get over once I get to the other side of the interstate. If you are getting off the interstate, turning left, and see me coming across, wait till after I pass to go over.

What dumb things often happen. I commit to crossing and make it very obvious that you should wait before trying to meet me on the over pass. You are oblivious, and proceed anyway. We now play out this scene from the movie date night.

Seriously, just put your junk in reverse.

That’s it. Hope you learned some things. I’m sorry I’m in your way. I don’t want to be here either.

Please share this article with a friend. (Like seriously people need to read this stuff.) SMASH THAT SHARE BUTTON!

About the Author:
Andy is a father, a farmer, a motivator, and a dreamer. He spends lots of time on the tractor seat thinking of ways to make you laugh and reach your goals.

When he isn’t on the road catch him motivating and inspiring from a seat of a tractor.

My mission is to have everybody who operates a vehicle on a road where I am driving a tractor read this article. Please Share!!


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4 thoughts on “Out of the Field, A Farmer’s Guide to Sharing the Road”

  1. So much truth….so many idiots. Thank you from eastern WI, where the beans grow tall and the Asian beetles fly farther, where all the neighbors meet at the CO-OP and the tractors are all green.

  2. Good advise….. I travel a lot of secondary roads in central Michigan. The only issue I have with the guy on the tractor is when he (or she) is hauling a large wagon – usually hay – with no rear vision and no one covering the rear. I’ve had two cases this year where I was very cautious passing because we were close to a potential turn into a farmyard , and sure enough, they made a left turn with no idea if someone was behind them – or passing them ..

    Thanks to all farm families for feeding us!!!!

    1. farmstrongcoaching

      Hi Gerry,

      We are all relieved when we get to turn into the driveway and get off the road. Thanks for watching out for us.

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