Spring planting season is finally underway and state public safety officials are reminding motorists to check their speed as they approach over-sized farm equipment.
Iowa Highway Patrol Sergeant Nate Ludwig says traditional cars and trucks are no match for agricultural machinery which often weighs several tons. He says trying to get around those big tractors pulling implements can be dangerous.”They think they start to make that pass and they do it before the yellow line they’re fine,” Ludwig says, “and then they meet a car at the top of a hill coming the other direction, which always results in a bad situation.”
Ludwig says he hopes drivers will resist the urge to pass lumbering farm equipment in no passing zones. He says not only is that a bad idea, it’s against the law. “If you can’t make a complete pass from start to finish before that solid yellow line, that’s illegal,” Ludwig says. “I don’t think people know that. They think maybe if they start to make that pass and they do it before the yellow line, they’re fine.”
Even if the farmer waves you around, Ludwig says it’s best to wait until you can actually see that it’s safe to pass. Planting season often runs around the clock and huge equipment is frequently moved between fields at night. Ludwig says farmers need to share responsibility by making sure it’s obvious when they’re going to turn or come to a sudden stop.
(Thanks to Pat Blank, Iowa Public Radio)