10/9/16 - Farmers On The Road - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

10/9/16 - Farmers On The Road

By Scott Thomas
KFVS12 Vice President and General Manager

Like many of you I live out in the county and at the end of the day I have a pleasant drive down a farm road to get to my house. This week as I was driving home from the office I got stuck behind a tractor, and before i knew it, we both were passed by a silver sports car. Pretty risky move on a two lane curvy road.

Yes, it's harvest season and that means you’ll be seeing more farm equipment on Heartland roads. Did you know the top speed of a combine is only about 22 miles an hour? And only 11 miles per hour for tractors?

The Missouri Highway Patrol has already investigated 17 car vs. farm implement crashes in Southeast Missouri this year, and harvest season is just getting under way. A lot of crashes occur when drivers try to pass farm equipment. Highway lanes are about 12 feet wide. Combines can be 18 feet wide or more. It doesn't take much to figure out it's not as easy as passing a Honda.

The Illinois State Police suggest:

  • First, don't pass in a no-passing zone. A lot of folks think since a farm implement is so slow they can just zip on by, like the silver sports car did. But they're wrong.
  • Second, don't pass a vehicle and a combine at the same time. Even if the driver in front of you is too timid to pass, just wait your turn.
  • Third, if you're in the oncoming lane pay attention and be ready to stop. Farmers are watching the road, and what's alongside it, not you. If they have to go around a mailbox, that combine could come into your lane quickly.

Here's the thing. Everyone's in a hurry, and we all hate to wait. I get it. But is it worth your life? Chances are if you crash into a combine you won't win. You could get seriously hurt, or worse. Be patient and enjoy the drive. Better to get home late than never.

I'm Scott Thomas and that's our ViewPoint.

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