Recent warm, summer-like weather means the 2015 wheat harvest may begin this week. This is an important time for the regions economy. It can also be infuriating if you are driving or cycling the areas’s roadways.
We are all in this together and must remember that the goal is to get to wherever we are going safely during harvest. This can best be accomplished by paying attention and having patience. Here are some harvest travel tips recommended by the Kansas Department of Transportation:
• Slow down when approaching farm equipment.
• Be aware of heavy truck traffic near grain elevators/co-ops. Grain trucks may stop on the road while waiting in line to unload grain. Find an alternate route away from elevators if possible
• Be aware of trucks, tractors pulling grain carts and combines pulling onto roads from farm fields. Also, be prepared for farm equipment to suddenly turn off the road into fields
• Don’t pass unless absolutely necessary. Before passing make sure the farm machinery isn’t turning left, determine if the road is wide enough for you and the equipment to safely share, look for roadside obstacles such as mailboxes, bridges or road signs that may cause the machinery to move to the center of the road and be sure there is adequate distance to safely pass.
• Don’t assume the farmer knows you are there.
• Remember, grain goes to market by train as well as truck. Be watchful when approaching railroad crossings.
And, as always:
• No texting. It’s against the law.
• Always wear seatbelts and use child safety restraints.
We must all, whether we drive a car or a combine, must respect one another and share the road.