An afternoon of harvest ended in collision on Wednesday for one Iowa farmer who had a run-in with a car while driving his combine on a local highway. Though the farmer was not hurt, thecombine sustained only minor damage in the collision and the driver of the car was taken to the hospital with injuries.  Read more about the accident from KCAUTV news.

The accident now serves as one of the latest reminders of the importance of road safety during harvest for both drivers and producers.   

"I know it's going to get pretty hectic here. But it's that time of the year that we need to pay close attention to a little extended safety in the thought process," farm accident instructor at Purdue Steve Wettschurack said in a report from WLFI news.

Roads can be particular dangerous this time of year, especially with drivers speeding along a two- or four-lane highway at 65 mph may not be prepared to slow down for a combine or other large farm vehicle traveling at speeds of 15 to 18 mph.

Charles Schwab, Iowa State University (ISU) Extension farm safety specialist, says highway safety is a shared responsibility for both the motor vehicle operators and agricultural equipment operators. Both have reasons and rights to be on those roads.

“Motorists may be unfamiliar with the outlines of farm equipment, especially at dusk when operators are returning from fields or moving between fields. Unfamiliarity can cause a split-second delay in reaction that, in many cases, can lead to a collision,” Schwab said in an ISU Extension article available here.  

Schwab offers these defensive-driving tips for rural roads this fall:

  • As soon as you see a slow-moving vehicle (SMV) emblem, brake as if you were approaching a stop sign.
  • Look for hand or turn signals from the farm vehicle operator, indicating a left turn.
  • When passing, make sure you can see the farm vehicle in your rearview mirror before you get back in your lane.

Specialists with the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau also suggest pulling over whenever possible to let motorists pass.  Read more here.