RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — With people flocking to Long Island’s east end for pumpkin and apple picking, farmers are complaining that tourists are driving dangerously.
Some drivers have routinely gone around slow-moving farm vehicles, into the lanes of oncoming traffic, despite the risk of a head-on crash.
Video shows not one, but three vehicles passing a slow-moving farm truck on Sound Avenue in the town of Riverhead on eastern Long Island. Once vehicle is towing a boat, and a third is an extra long construction trailer.
Despite signs warning it’s single lane only, some drivers in a hurry cross the double line to get past farm vehicles.
“Routinely, a tractor will be doing 10 mph, cars doing 50 to 60 mph, not hesitating to go around them, no matter what’s on the other side. They don’t really care,” Robert Andrews, Andrews and Sons Farms said.
Farmers like Andrews said while they depend on fall tourism for their livelihood, it’s a disaster in the making. Especially with so many folks heading out east for pumpkin and apple picking.
Local residents agree, saying every day they see examples of road rage from drivers not wanting to wait in the long lines of traffic forced to crawl along behind the farm vehicles.
“Bumper to bumper, people beeping, making vile signs with their hands, screaming, honking,” Barbara Adonelfi said.
The manager of Lewin Farms in Wading River said it’s such a problem, they’ve taken precautions by modifying their vehicles.
“On the back of the trailers we have put blinking lights, so that people are aware of us,” Pamela Lewin said.
Andrews said he took the same approach with his trucks, but without results.
“Extra lights, extra signs, whatever we can do, but it doesn’t seem to help,” he said.
Andrews said he’s like to see more signs posted on the town road. Town managers said they’ve already placed numerous ‘no passing zone’ signs along the stretch, saying enforcement is the answer. Police are also stepping up patrols to catch violators.
Officers who observe illegal passing can ticket you for a hazardous lane change, even if there is no accident. The penalty carries hundreds of dollars in fines.