This time of the year, the highways, county roads and even interstates are busy with farm equipment hauling in the grain from the fields. Where we live, we are on a gravel road about a half mile from a busy highway which is about five miles from Interstate 80. For our farm operation we use all three types of roads to get our grain from our fields to our final destination-the grain elevators.
Not only do the farmers have to be very cautious of driving their equipment down the road, but everyone else needs to be aware of the farm equipment too!
All farm equipment that moves down the road should have either caution lights or warning triangles on them. If you come up behind one, please, please be aware of what is up ahead (driveways, roads, hills, etc.) before you try to pass them.
I have a story from a few years ago that ended well, but could have ended very differently….
We farm two different farms (Kevin’s mom’s family farm and Kevin’s dad’s family farm). These farms are about five miles away from each other, so when we are done harvesting at one farm, we have to move all the equipment to the other farm. This means that Kevin drives the combine down the highway along with a truck that pulls either the bean head or the corn head, two tractors with grain carts behind them, an auger, a grain cart and a semi-truck. That is at least seven LARGE items going down the highway. And that’s just our farm. Think about all the other farms there are in the country. That equates to A LOT of machinery on the county roads and highways this time of the year.
Anyways, back to my story-I believe we were done harvesting for the year and were moving all the equipment back to our place to store. When we got to the point of moving equipment, we usually ask some family members to drive their vehicles behind the equipment, just as an additional precautionary measure.
So that day, I pulled out onto the highway in a tractor that was pulling a grain cart. I had all my flashers going, but we still had Kevin’s mom (Rhonda) follow me with her flashers on too. As we drove down the road we had a few vehicles pass us.
Our turn is just over a hill, so we have to slow down going up the hill. A lot of times people behind us get impatient following such slow moving equipment, that as soon as we crest the hill they try to pass us, not knowing that we are going to make a left turn right there. So that’s why we have another vehicle follow behind us.
|Going up the hill right before our turn.|
|At the crest of the hill. Our turn is there on the left.|
That sunny, fall day, a motorcycle came flying up behind Rhonda and she had this feeling that he was going to try to pass us as soon we were over the hill. So as soon as she was able to, she got into the center of the road so the motorcycle couldn’t pass us as I turned the corner. She said as soon as he realized that we were turning, he waved and I’m sure he was very thankful that she stopped him passing us at the wrong time.
So everyone, farmers and non-farmers alike need to be very, very aware of what is ahead and if the equipment could be making a turn onto another road or into a field that you may not be able to see well.
This is a very busy time of the year and we just want to make sure that everyone takes their time and stays safe! Happy harvest to everyone!