Country singer Craig Morgan sang a called “International Harvester.” It’s an earworm and it dominated country radio in 2006.
Say what you will about the song itself or his brand of farm implement, but it contained a message to drivers frustrated by slow speeds: Farmers have just as much right to the road as you do.
With regard to the roads, Mr. Morgan is correct — though we suspect this song wasn’t written to promote traffic safety.
Did you know that an estimated 80% of farm traffic accidents were due to carelessness?
That information comes to us from the National Ag Safety Database, and it’s certainly something to be mindful of the next time we journey down a dirt road or travel in a rural area.
The Kansas Department of Transportation recorded 113 farm equipment crashes in 2018, which resulted in one fatality, 24 injuries and countless hours of work and money lost. In the past 10 years of recorded data by KDOT, which goes from 2018-2009, only one year, 2015, had zero fatalities.
According to KDOT, that accounts for about 0.27% of the state’s accidents, but so many of these accidents were avoidable. Yet, they happen every year.
With spring bringing out more traffic to the roads, both from farmers and other users, we feel the need to deliver a message of caution: Pay attention to your surroundings, be patient and use common sense.
A majority of Kansas is made up of rural areas, so it’s likely that you’ll encounter a tractor, combine or other implements on the roads in the coming months, especially around wheat harvest.
If you see that yellow/orange triangle — which farm equipment is required to have by law — hazard lights or obviously large farm equipment, slow down and yield when necessary. A tractor beats a sedan or sports car in a head-on collision.
A majority of these accidents occur during the harvest times from about June through August, but they can happen at any time.
These tips don’t just apply to regular drivers, farmers need to be mindful on the roads as well. We’re all in this together out on our country roads. Let’s make sure they take us where we belong.
Let’s try to do better; we know we can. Let Kansas become the poster child for sharing the roads. Stay safe out there.