As farmers around North Central Washington and the Columbia Basin prepare their fields for this year's growing season, local law enforcement agencies are reminding drivers about the increased presence of farm equipment and implements traveling on county roads and state highways.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Jeremy Weber says his agency sees several accidents involving farm implements every spring.

"We have had some incidents in the past couple of years. Most of our farm apparatus start coming out this time of the year and we're not used to seeing them. As we come up over the hills, especially on county roads, you'll see them quite often and it's important to pay attention to them."

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Weber adds drivers should always be especially cautious when attempting to pass farm equipment on the roadway.

"A lot of those pieces of equipment like the combines and the large trailers are quite long, so you've got to make sure that you have plenty of room to pass. Make sure you're also within the passing lane and that you're not on a hill. It doesn't take that long to pass them but you have to make sure you do it in a safe way."

Other things to remember when encountering farm implements on the road are being alert for hand signals from the operator and watching for amber flashing lights and orange triangular slow-moving-vehicle signs which are only legally allowed on vehicles with a top speed of 25 mph or less.

Weber also says farm implements can have parts projecting outward that are difficult to spot until making a pass and that large tractors and other machinery does not have the same ability to maneuver the road as standard passenger vehicles do.

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