SIDNEY — Warmer temperatures are finally here and as predicted farmers are busy getting their fields ready for planting.
“City drivers going own a road and who see a large piece of farm equipment, should approach it as if it was a stop sign,” said Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart. “You need to slow down and then make a decision whether you can pass it or if you should pull over and let it pass you. He (tractor driver) might have to stop or you might have to stop.”
Lenhart said if you are approaching the tractor/equipment from the back, you have to decide whether to pass it or not.
“If you are on a single yellow line or double yellow line, you can go around the tractor,” said Lenhart. “But you have to look down the road and make sure there is no traffic approaching you. Then be careful when you pull out to pass it.
“If someone hits you, you’re at fault because you’re passing on the double yellow line. If it’s a large piece of equipment, you’ll want to pass it with due caution,” he said.
Lenhart said the vast majority of tractor/vehicle crashes occur when a tractor is turning left into a field, driveway or road.
“We call these angle accidents,” said Lenhart.
He also reminds drivers to be aware of the speed they are traveling and the speed of the tractor.
“You’re usually traveling 55 mph in a car,” said Lenhart. “The tractor/equipment is traveling about 10 mph. Within 5 seconds, the vehicle can cover 300 feet and be in the back of the tractor. So slow down immediately when you see the tractor.”
Lenhart advises both city friends and farm friends to “be patient, have due respect for the farmer and share the roads. Be patient, be considerate and be safe.”
Dealing with another issue, Lenhart said his office has received calls about two different scams in the past week.
“One was a grandchild scam,” said Lenhart. “The person was called and said the grandson was in jail. The person sent them $800 on Friday and then another $800 on Monday.
“This was a nonexistent grandson and it was a fake call,” he said. “We’re telling everyone not to send money if they receive a call that a grandchild is in jail.”
He said if a law enforcement officer was going to call about someone in jail, the call would be local and the person would be permitted to talk to their grandchild.
The second scam deals with someone trying to raise money to purchase a canine for the sheriff’s office.
“We don’t raise money for a canine for the sheriff’s office,” said Lenhart. “The person who was called asked the caller what the sheriff’s name was. The person didn’t know who the sheriff was.
“If you respond to these people, you’re just giving money to some crook,” he said.
The writer conducts a weekly interview to update readers with news from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, 555 Gearhart Road, Sidney.