Kansas Highway Patrol: Drive with caution during harvest

Staff Writer

TOPEKA—Kansas wheat harvest is about to begin and hay season is in full swing. The Kansas Highway Patrol would like to remind all motorists to drive with caution and patience when traveling at this time as trucks, tractors, combines and other implements use roadways to get from farm to field to station.

"As the busy farming season is underway, each traveler in Kansas needs to be more aware of increased farm implement and truck traffic," said Lieutenant Adam Winters, KHP Public Information Officer. "In Kansas, we have many gtrucks exiting and entering the roadways at any given time. Traveling around these vehicles requires extra caution."

Most farm equipment is not designed to travel at highway speeds and may only travel 15-25 mph. Farm equipment is often wider than the lane of traffic so extra room should be allowed when sharing the road. Caution should be practiced on all roads, but expecially on busy rural roads with unmarked intersections.

Tips to keep in mind:

* Don't assume the farmer knows you are there.

Most farmers regularly check for vehicles behind them, however, most of their time must be spent looking ahead to stay on the road and watch for oncoming traffic. Implements are very loud, hindering the ability to hear other vehicles.

* Pass with extreme caution.

Don't pass unless you can see clearly ahead of both your vehicle and the equipment you are passing. If there are curves or hills blocking your view, wait until you can clearly see the area you are passing. You should not pass in a designated "No Passing Zone," even if you are stuck behind a farm vechile. Do not pass if you are within 100 ft. of any intersectin, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevated structure or tunnel.

* When a farm vehicle pulls to the right side of the road, it does not mean it is turning right or allowing you to pass.

Due to the size of some farm equipment, the farmer must execute wide left turns so to allow it plenty of room and time to turn. Be alert to see if they might be turning into a driveway or field.

* Be patient.

Don't assume that a farmer can move aside to let you pass. Shoulders may be soft, wet or steep, which can cause the farm vehicle to tip or the shoulder may not support the weight of a heavy farm vehicle. They understand you are being delayed and will move over at the first safe location available.

* Think of the slow-moving vehicle emblem as a warning to adjust your speed.

Immediately slow down when you see the slow-moving vehicle emblem. While the emblems aer visible from a long distance, it is difficult to judge the speed at which you are closing in on the vehicle, especially at night.

* Pay attention.

When not focused solely on the road, motorists increase their chances of a collision, especially if coming upon a slow-moving farm vehicle.