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BREAKING NEWS

Daily News Editorial

By Staff | Oct 20, 2008

The corn and soybeans are coming out of the field at a rapid pace. It’s harvest season in Iowa, and time to watch for some additional hazards on the roads.

With farmers putting in longer hours – and longer days – than ever before, you can bet that not everyone is going to be back from the field before sundown. That means we all need to look out for slow-moving vehicles at all times.

If you come to the top of a hill, make sure you can slow down or even stop if necessary. A farmer could be pulling into or out of an approach, and you can bet that he isn’t traveling the same speed as people scooting down the highway. So make sure you have your car under control and that you’re ready for any traffic hazard that might arise.

Also look out for extra-wide vehicles. A combine with the head on it is going to take up a whole lot more space than a regular vehicle, especially if it’s swinging wide for a mailbox or something else along the road.

And if you’re going to pass a slow-moving vehicle, make sure you do it in a legal passing zone. And make sure you have plenty of time to move back into your own lane.

With corn and beans coming out of the field, you can bet too that wildlife will be on the move, crossing roads from fields to woodlots and creeks and rivers. There’s sort of a joke in Iowa that more deer are killed by vehicles than by bows or slugs or bullets, but it’s not that far from the truth. A collision with a deer can cause thousands of dollars of damages.

A pheasant can cause serious damage too. A rooster may weigh only a few pounds, but if you hit him when you’re going 60 miles an hour, you’ll remember it.

Another thing to look for is grain flying off semi trailers. If you follow one too close, don’t be surprised if you end up with a cracked windshield. It’s against the law for anyone to drive a grain trailer that’s spewing grain onto other vehicles, but by the time you stop to inspect your car it will be too late to catch up with the truck that did it. So stay safe and stay back and you’ll keep your windshield a little longer.

A little common sense – and a little extra caution – can make harvest season a little safer for everyone.