For motorists, driving along the roads of Indiana this time of year, there is an additional hazard that demands all drivers remain alert. It is harvest time for Indiana farmers, which means an increased number of large pieces of field equipment will be traveling country roads.
This farm equipment, including tractors and various combines harvesting corn, soybeans and other crops, will be heading to fields in the early morning hours and back again in the evening, as farmers work to bring in their crop. Many farmers work in fields that are miles from their homes and have to drive their equipment over the same roads that everyone else uses.
In addition, trucks heavily laden with grain from the fields will be entering those roads. When they are fully loaded, it may take them quite a distance to reach highway speeds. Motorists need to exercise caution and slow down in time to avoid a collision.
With large tractors and harvesters, it may be impossible to pull off the road to allow other vehicles to pass. A large corn cutting head can be as wide as both lanes of the road. This can mean slow traffic, and with many rural roads featuring frequent hills and sharp curves, drivers may have little notice before they need to slow.
Driving slowly when you see harvest work going on is your best protection, as you may have only seconds to react when coming upon a tractor or combine moving at 15 miles per hour.
Much of the economy of Indiana relies on the crops produced by our farmers, and those crops must be harvested one field at a time and then taken to market. It will be safer for everyone if all drivers slow down and pay extra attention when they are any of Indiana's roads during harvest season.
Source: kokomotribune.com, "Editorial: Be watchful at harvest," September 29, 2015