Iowa’s corn crop is growing ever taller as we move into the month of August. The Iowa Department of Transportation’s state safety engineer, Jeremey Vortherms, is reminding motorists to approach rural intersections with extreme caution.
“As the corn comes up in height, it cuts off some of the sight triangles at the intersections – making it hard to see oncoming traffic from other approaches,” Vortherms said. There are normally about two fatalities and dozens of crashes each year in Iowa due to sight obstruction on rural gravel intersections and driveways.
“We have about 50 crashes at these types of intersection (per year). So, it’s not a (large) number, but it represents a certain risk to drivers who use those type of roads,” Vortherms said. Most rural intersections are not marked with stop or yield signs. Some motorists speed through the intersections if they don’t see dust from an approaching vehicle. That’s a bad idea, according to Vortherms.
“We try to encourage people not to just rely on the dust trail at this time of year. When we get rain, that dust trail…it just doesn’t exist,” Vortherms said. He adds “defensive driving at slower speeds” on rural roads is critical at this time of year.