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Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Apr 25, 2008

It’s that time of year again.

After a long winter (way too long, in fact), farmers are out on county and state roads on their way to the fields. With more farmers renting ground around their home place than ever before, you can be assured that you’ll see more of them on the road.

As agriculture has had to become more efficient out of necessity, farm equipment has become wider and takes up more of the road.

For the next month or so, everyone needs to slow down when they’re driving on county or secondary roads (which means just about every road in northwest Iowa). Be ready for that slow-moving tractor or terragator ahead of you. Now is not the time to go whipping down roads 70-plus miles an hour. If you should pile into the back end of a diesel tractor weighing many tons, you can just about guess who will come out on the short end of the stick.

Look out particularly for farmers who have to swing back over the median line as they approach mailboxes, driveways, and field approaches. Think ahead of where that farm unit is going to have to travel. The driver inside may be preoccupied with noise or wondering about how he’s going to get all those acres planted in one day. His main concern may not be who it is that’s flying up behind him onto his tail.

Also look out for farm kids playing outside, now that summer is approaching. And be careful of pets as they follow children out to the end of the driveway to wait for the school bus.

We might think that slow-moving vehicle is an inconvenience, but a little patience is in order this time of year, just as it is during harvest season. If you’re following a tractor and the driver waves you ahead, proceed with caution, particularly if the tractor is at the crest of the hill. Even if the farmer waves you ahead, you’re still responsible for how you operate your vehicle.

A little caution when following farm equipment could prevent a tragedy. So please be careful. The life you save may be your own.