Harvest in Underway and Motorists Will Need to Share the Road

(Radio Iowa) Autumn arrives Saturday but many Iowa farmers are already starting the fall harvest, and motorists in rural areas will need to share the roads with large, slow-moving farm equipment for the next several weeks. Franklin County Sheriff Aaron Dodd says he’s already spotted drivers taking big chances when they shouldn’t, like trying to pass tractors on a hill.

“We’ll see people going up a hill on a double yellow line just out of frustration for the farm machinery going slow,” Dodd says. “It’s so dangerous. It puts everyone in danger. Not only yourself but the person you might be meeting head-on coming over that hill, and the operator of the farm machinery, too.” Such risky behavior might result in a collision, or at least a ticket.

“I would just really warn against that,” the sheriff says, “and my office, if we see you doing that, you’re going to get yourself a citation for something that unsafe.” Distractions are also causing crashes, and Dodd says people need to put down the number-one distraction — their smartphones — while driving.

“That’s one of those things that just goes back to personal responsibility,” Dodd says. “Enforcement may change someone’s mind, but it just has to be an effort people need to make, like they’re going to put their phone down. Maybe you need to put it in the console or something where you can’t see it and that’s your tool to not look at it.” From 2017 through June 30th, 2022, the Iowa Department of Transportation reports 30 people died in crashes involving farm equipment in the state. This is National Farm Safety and Health Week.

(Brian Fancher, KLMJ, Hampton)