OLDHAM COUNTY, Ky. — Sharing the road is every driver’s responsibility and in many parts of Kentucky, so is sharing the road with farm equipment. So traveling by tractor on a main road, some would think is a daily routine for farmers but not for Bush Ashlock. 

What You Need To Know

  • Buck Ashlock is the owner of Ashlock Farms and a third generation farmer

  • More than 85,000 people died in crashes on rural roads from 2016 to 2020

  • In 2020, the risk of dying in a crash was 62% higher on a rural road compared to an urban road

“We try not to even come out here because you have to hit certain times of the day so you can hit the least amount of traffic but here in Oldham County there’s really no good time because there’s always traffic,” Ashlock said.

Spectrum News first met Ashlock, the owner of a 265-acre farm, Ashlock Farms, in Crestwood back in August when we talked to him about the impact of inflation on the farming community.

Ashlock usually travels on a main rural road in Crestwood to purchase corn from a neighboring farmer. It’s an hour commute he only tries to take two or three times a year. “I was told by my farm bureau if you motion people around and by some chance somebody comes out of the blue from the other direction you could be responsible for an accident,” Ashlock said.

So if Ashlock see’s a chance to get off the road safely and get back on, then he’ll do so and let traffic pass. “Everybodys got somewhere to be, it just takes me a little bit longer to get there,” Ashlock said.

Ashlock has seen just about every type of driver throughout his time on the road. “That’s the most frustrating thing, when people just don’t take the time when you’re literally talking a minute or two, we’re not talking an hour,” Ashlock said. “I mean I could block the whole road if I wanted to and be a horse’s tail for lack of better words, but I try to be courteous to everyone.”

According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, the number one cause of death in agriculture in Kentucky is transportation. The Governors Highway Safety Association found that more than 85,000 people died in crashes on rural roads between 2016 and 2020. Reports show in 2020, the risk of dying in a crash was 62% higher on a rural road compared to an urban road.

It’s something Ashlock has experienced first-hand. “It’s been a few years, but it has happened to me personally twice where the load was wider than the road and they thought they were somewhere where they weren’t and came over too soon and clipped me,” Ashlock said.

So whether you abide by the rules of the road or not, Ashlock is hoping to leave the drivers with one message when they see farming equipment on the road.

“If they chose to cross the double line, then cross it, they want to come around, come around, if they want to wait and be patient,” Ashlock said. “People who don’t abide by the rules and turn into mean people then that’s what turned me into not pulling over, slowing down, giving them a chance to come around because my time is just as valuable as there’s.”

The ultimate goal is getting everyone home safe.

Sgt. Jason Morris of the Kentucky State Police, quoted by an article from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, says there should be three “Be’s” to share the road. Be visible, be cautious and be patient.