Iowa’s October Road Warriors: Staying Safe with Farm Equipment on the Road

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For many farmers across Iowa, October is one of the busiest times of the year as they spend long days in the field trying to harvest the grain that has been growing all summer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture ranks Iowa as the top state when it comes to producing corn in the country.

That means that you’re likely to see a lot of heavy machinery, combines and tractors on rural roads during October as farmers make their way to and from the field. All the extra machinery means drivers, both in the machinery and in normal passenger vehicles, need to pay extra attention. There are simple ways for farmers and motorists to effectively share the road and make sure everyone reaches their destination safely.

First, let’s take a look at how you can keep safe while you’re in your car as you come up on a piece of farm equipment on the road.

  • First and foremost, slow down as soon as you see the farm equipment. This will give you time to assess the situation.
  • Look to see if the farmer is trying signal you. If you’re told to wait, it’s best to wait. When the piece of equipment veers off the road, it may not be to let you pass. These vehicles need to make wide turns, and veering to the right may mean the farmer is setting up to make a turn.
  • Once you can safely pass, do so at a safe speed. While you may be in a hurry to reach your destination, a high-speed pass can create turbulence for the farm vehicle and cause it to become unstable.

Farmers also have responsibilities when their driving heavy machinery on the road.

  • Farmers should make sure all the lights on their equipment are clean and in good working order. Even in the daytime, the lights should be flashing to warn other motorists.
  • If possible, try to avoid grouping equipment together on roads with higher traffic volumes. Spacing equipment out allows motorists to have a safe lane to return to if they’re unable to pass the group all at once.
  • Having another vehicle following a piece of equipment with flashing hazard lights is another way of letting other vehicles know what they’re coming up on.

Following these quick tips are a good way to make sure everyone is safe during this busy season in the fields. Good luck during the harvest.

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