Author: Megan N. Drewry

Harvest Season Safety for Farmers and Motorists

The smell of peanut dust in the air, tractors on the road, and fields of white snow can only mean one thing. It’s officially harvest season here in rural Virginia and North Carolina. It’s a beautiful sight in our area but, it also means motorists are more likely to encounter farm equipment in their daily travels.

Most farm equipment operates at a speed somewhere between 15 – 25 mph. If a car is traveling at 50 mph it has less than 10 seconds to avoid crashing into the back of a tractor moving 20 mph. That’s only 400 feet! To put this in perspective, the length of a football field is 360 feet.

When traveling in farming communities here are several safety precautions to reduce the chance of farm equipment accidents:

  • Reduce your speed when you spot a piece of farm equipment. If you see something ahead of you that you can’t recognize slow down until you properly identify the object.
  • Do not speed past farm equipment. Are the 3 seconds you’re gaining from legally speeding past machinery worth it? The turbulence caused by your vehicle passing can cause the machinery to quickly become unstable and sway resulting in an overturned machine or other accident.
  • Watch for hand or turn signals. Just because the machinery is pulling to the far right doesn’t mean they are pulling over for you to pass. Wide turns are necessary meaning they must veer right in order to turn left. If the operator is signaling you to wait, trust them.
  • Look out for Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems and amber flashing lights. SMV signs are used for machinery traveling under 25 mph. Flashing amber lights often mark the far left and far right of the equipment traveling the roadway. There could also be reflective tape on the outer extremities. Fully take in all portions of the farm equipment before you attempt to pass safely.

And lastly…

  • Do not expect equipment to move over for you. Driving with one set of wheels off the road can substantially increase the risk of overturn or other accident. Consider stopping and pulling over on the side of the road or into a driveway if you can safely. This allow the operator to safely continue down the road to his/her destination.

Farmers don’t ‘want’ to be in the road anymore than they have to. However, it’s a reality of the job when moving equipment from farm to farm. Remember the above precautions to allow a safe and accident free harvest season. Always remember it’s someone’s life, livelihood, loved one, and the meal we eat every day.

Resources and more information:

Hurricane Preparation

September is National Preparedness Month, a month set aside to remind Americans how to be ready and prepared for emergencies or disasters. Hurricane season is starting and we’ve put together a few tips to make sure you, your family, home, business, and community is ready to weather the storm.

Now is the time to be preparing a hurricane kit in your home. Some suggestions to be included in your kit are:

  1. Water (recommended 1 gallon per person per day. Have at least a 3 day supply)
  2. Food (non-perishable food items such as: canned food items [salmon, tuna, etc.], canned vegetables and fruits, instant soup mixes, peanut butter, cereal, apples, crackers, soy or almond milk, trail mix, granola/protein bars, apple sauce)
  3. Flashlights (and extra batteries!), candles (matches, waterproof or stored in dry container), lanterns
  4. First Aid Kit (contents should include:
  5. Radio (hand cranked or battery-powered)
  6. Dust Mask (filters contaminated air)
  7. Paper towels, toilet paper, garbage bags, moist toweletts
  8. Tools such as wrench and pliers (to turn off utilities if need be)
  9. Maps (local and surrounding areas)
  10. Cell Phone charger (car charger, solar powered, backup batteries [be sure they are charged now!])
  11. Prescription Medications
  12. Important Documents in waterproof container (identification, insurance policies, bank account information, etc.)
  13. Extra clothes and sturdy shoes for each member of your household
  14. Emergency contact numbers (include your insurance agent on this! Manry Rawls Franklin is 757-562-6131, we will be updating with other various emergency numbers as the storm approaches)

After preparing your kit be sure your home’s exterior is ready. Hurricane’s bring strong winds, heavy rain, possible hail, storm surge, and more.

  1. Remove area debris (winds can pick up large branches, unstable trees and bushes)
  2. Clear the lawn of furniture, toys, plants, trash cans, decorations, etc. (anything that is not tied down)
  3. Clean out gutters & drains
  4. Check sump pumps
  5. Test generators BEFORE the storm hits
  6. Check your structures and ensure roofs, porches, carports, storage sheds, etc. are firmly attached in place
  7. Check the seals around windows and doors for holes or gaps.

Please remember these are only suggestions and should be adjusted for your family. If you need to speak with your Manry Rawls insurance agent prior to the storm please call your local office today (Courtland- (757) 653-2413, Franklin- (757) 562-6131, Emporia- (434) 634-2152, Windsor- (757) 242-6112, Smithfield- (757) 304-6160.) If you need to report a claim after the storm we will update with phone numbers later as time gets closer.

Check our Facebook page and local news sources often to stay updated on the storm’s progression and what you should do.





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Our regular office hours are: Monday-Friday : 8:30am - 5pm


430 S Main ST
Emporia, VA

(434) 634-6131


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Courtand, VA

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Franklin, VA

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Smithfield, VA

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Williamston, NC

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