First off let me give you a heads up about driving in the fall in the country. Fall is an extremely busy time of year because the amount of time you have left for harvesting everything (corn, soybeans, hay, etc.) gets shorter by the second. While sometimes you can harvest even after the snow flies, there are various reasons to get things picked between when they are at the best possible moment to harvest and when the snow flies…but you don’t know when that will be. Plus many farmers work a day job too. Between those two things you will often find people in the fields working by headlights and at other odd hours. As the combines move on, they take down cover that has been used for various wild animals stirring them up as they seek new shelter elsewhere. The farmers that still do livestock and don’t do confinement often move their farm animals at this time too. Meaning there are a lot of farmers, equipment, and animals on the roads between fields. So take care and do YOUR part to keep the roadways safe. Be alert and watch for field driveways and keep an eye peeled for people and animals moving in the ditches.
Every year about 200 crashes between farm implements and motor vehicles happen on public roads. Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health put out these safety driving tips:
- Reduce speed when you see farm equipment on rural roads.
- Allow for short closing distances when approaching slow moving vehicles.
- Slow down on gravel roads, hills, curves, and turns.
- Keep safe distance behind farm equipment so farmers can see you. If you can’t see his mirrors, he can’t see to you.
- Yield to wide equipment on narrow roads.
- Be especially cautious of farm equipment turning left onto driveways or fields. They may first pull right before starting to turn left for wide turns.
- Pass farm equipment only if conditions are safe and no on-coming traffic.
- Farm equipment operator may pull over if safe to do so.
- Farm equipment operators may move to the center to avoid objects on the road shoulder.
- Do NOT pass farm equipment on the yellow line, curves or hills. Be Patient.
Find more on their website: http://www.public-health.uiowa.edu/ICASH
Sarah S. Uthoff is main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation.Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+,LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. She is currently acting President of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.