The State Highway Patrol says there were 158 traffic crashes in Missouri involving farm equipment in 2016.

Highway Patrol Captain John Hotz says three people were killed in those crashes, and that 62 more were injured.

“We know that farming is Missouri’s number one industry and we know that there will be a lot of tractors and a lot of trucks and things like that getting those crops out of the field,” Hotz says.

The Department of Agriculture says ag is an $88 billion industry in Missouri, making it the state’s top industry.

Captain Hotz is urging you to slow down and to be patient, when you drive up behind tractors or other farm machinery. He says motorists should expect heavier farm machinery traffic, as farmers harvest their crops.

Hotz also warns about distracted driving.

“A lot of times farm equipment is traveling at a slower rate of speed and so they’re (other motorists) not paying attention and they overtake and strike these vehicles very quickly,” says Hotz.

Hotz reminds farmers and ranchers to make sure any farm equipment being driven on Missouri roads is properly marked with lights.

He says many crashes happen when motorists try to pass farm vehicles on hills or curves. Hotz says collisions also frequently happen when a driver tries to pass a left-turning farm vehicle.