As I was out and about a bit more this past week, I saw some beautiful sights: It’s September. Soybeans are turning color to that mellow yellow. I even met some combines on the road as they’re being prepped for harvest. Yes! Harvest will start soon. To be sure, corn has been chopped for silage for the past month, but full-fledged appearance of tractors, wagons, combines, trucks, etc., will soon be everywhere.
So … What?
So … Safety! For yourself and other.
Safety on the farm includes avoiding pinch points, wrap points (PTOs), cuts, burns, and crushing in and around equipment; making sure the equipment has safety shields in place and is ready for the job; avoiding rushing to get the job done (ofttimes taking short cuts that can compromise safety); and reviewing “safe operating procedures” with the whole family and staff.
Safety on the road includes visibility, attention, courtesy, and patience. Can you be seen? Especially at night? Do your lights and flashers work? Are your reflectors clean and visible or faded out? Yes, this includes that SMV decal! If I can’t see you, it’s hard to know you’re there.
Are you paying attention? How many other vehicles are behind you? Does your equipment “hang over” into the oncoming-traffic lane? How far ahead is that next mailbox that you need to “go around” (maybe moving you further into that other lane)? Is someone starting to pass even though you’ve signaled a left-turn? Attention to details and planning ahead can go a long way to keeping us safe.
Are you frustrating other drivers? While I know it’s not feasible to be “off the road” during the time people are going to/leaving work (“rush hour”), can you give them a little break? Is there a spot coming up where you can pull over to let them pass? I always like, too, when you use your turn signals (or hand signals) to let me know you’re planning to turn. That helps me know you’ll soon be out of my line of travel and I don’t need to be looking for a chance to pass now.
Patience is a virtue … on the farm and on the road. Sometimes wagons just don’t “track true.” I’d rather be behind you at 15 mph with equipment traveling straight on the road than at 20 mph with wagons swingin’ side-to-side. You’re probably gonna tell me it’s not likely to happen, but there’s always the possibility that that weaving wagon could drop off the edge, flip, move into the other lane.
And then there are the Slow Moving Vehicle emblems. You’ve heard me say it before: < 25 mph, regardless of the horsepower in that pickup truck you’re using to pull all those wagons!! No sense in teachin’ those behind you to ignore it!!
Yes, I always sound like I’m preachin’! I guess I am … I just don’t want to hear of any farm accidents this year! Take the time now to get your equipment ready. Review the rules of the road. Treat others like you’d like to be treated. Plan ahead. Let’s have a Safe Harvest!!
The writer can be reached at the OSU Extension office (937-498-7239) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.