Share the road during harvest season

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

If you spend any time driving rural roads this time of year, you know it’s harvest time.

Farmers can be found out in the fields at all hours of the day, racing the clock, putting in long hours to bring the crops in before snow arrives. Their plans are complicated by the whims of Mother Nature, who might decide one day to give the fields a soaking rain that might have come in handy two months ago, but now only serves to slow down the harvest. They also have to contend with traffic, including people who aren’t patient enough to wait as a farmer driving an implement tries to make his way down the road. Here are some tips for rural drivers:

Always be on the lookout for farm machinery. Remember it can unexpectedly turn onto public roads from a field or driveway.

Farm machinery typically travels at 25 mph or less, so be prepared to slow down in order to avoid a rear-end collision and keep a safe distance. This gives better visibility to both drivers and equipment operators. Just because you see the equipment does not mean the equipment operator sees you.

If you have the need to pass farm machinery, take care. Be sure the machinery is not turning left. Look for left turn lights or hand signals.

When passing, check for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road.

Be sure there is adequate distance for you to safely pass and be on the look out for oncoming traffic.

While sharing the road with farm machinery might seem like an inconvenience, remember that these are hard-working people who just want to get the job done and go home, just like you. Don’t make things more difficult for them than they already are.

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