The corn’s so far past knee-high by this time of the year, transportation officials are once again putting out the safety alert for visibility at the intersections of country roads. Tom Welch is a DOT safety engineer who says tall crops make it a dangerous time to drive rural roadways.It’s six feet or higher, with all the rain we’ve had, and Welch says it’s causing concern at rural intersections. He says rural residents get used to driving as if there’s nobody else on the road but most of the year their visibility’s better than it is right now during the peak of the growing season.Welch says rural residents get used to driving the same roads the same way, but for a few months this time of year he urges everyone to take extra precautions, not sail through the intersections and even treat them as if there’s a “yield” sign there since you cannot tell if someone’s coming the other way. In the average year around three people are killed and about 70 injured in just that type of crash. While the visual barrier is temporary and recurrent, Welch says he and his fellow safety engineers can’t do much to change the tall crops or their impact on road safety. Some farmers voluntarily stop planting 100 feet away from an intersection that adjoins their fields, he says, because it’s their friends, neighbors, church- and schoolmates driving the country roads — but he adds they have every right to farm all of their property, too.
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