The leaves are beginning to change color, there is a crispness to the night air, and the fall harvest is soon to be upon us. Already some farmers are in their fields taking out a few end rows from their corn fields, and opening their sugar beet fields.


The leaves are beginning to change color, there is a crispness to the night air, and the fall harvest is soon to be upon us. Already some farmers are in their fields taking out a few end rows from their corn fields, and opening their sugar beet fields.

Once again, the issue of safety looms large — not only for farmers but for the rest of us as well. Every year the public is reminded of the importance of being aware of farmers driving large machinery from field to field, and to slow down and share the road.

And yet, every harvest season we hear of accidents involving motorists and farm machinery. Accidents that could have been avoided, if only more attention were paid by at least one of the parties involved.

Combines, tractors, semis and other farm trucks have as much right to be on the roads as any other vehicles. Depending on the type of road, these pieces of equipment can take up a big portion of the roadway, especially on gravel roads. Motorists need to be aware of this and drive accordingly.

Unfortunately, not all motorists may be paying close attention to what is happening ahead of them and the sudden appearance of a slow moving piece of farm machinery may turn into an ugly surprise for them and the farmer.

At the same time, farmers must do their best to make sure they are visible to approaching motorists. It should go without saying that slow moving vehicle signs are required on farm equipment, but flashing warning lights are an even better way to attract the attention of motorists. This is especially true as the harvest kicks into high gear and farmers work late into the night.

The important thing to remember is to be patient, slow down when encountering farm equipment on the road, and use good judgment.

Safety is everybody’s responsibility.