Harvest season’s getting underway in Iowa, and safety officials warn drivers to be on alert for slow-moving farm equipment. Major Rich Kinseth with the Iowa State Patrol says any two-lane road could present unexpected hazards. County blacktops, secondary roads, and state highways are the primary concern during the harvest season. They’re required to have flashing yellow lights and slow-moving vehicle signs but Kinseth reminds drivers if you’re going fast you still may be surprised by very slow-moving implements on the road, and their large size or other features can add to the risk. Combines, cultivators, disks and other pieces of equipment are moving slower, and also may have a projecting load on either side. The biggest danger still will be in the difference between a car’s normal highway speed and the motion of a big piece of equipment, which the trooper says can be around fifteen miles an hour. A car will come upon them quite quickly, and he says the incidents are often rear-end crashes, or collisions that happen when the car hits an implement that’s turning into a farm or field driveway. Impatient drivers who try to pass the slow-moving tractors frequently find themselves headed for trouble, and Kinseth points out it’s against the law to pass any vehicle at an intersection. He says a big tractor’s size and height also may block some of its lights from another driver’s view and make it hard to calculate the distance, speed and safe passing distance.
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