With the corn crop now at its mature height in late-July, it’s a good time to review some safety tips for traveling to rural areas this time of year. We’ve all seen drivers speed on country roads and come to soft stops at rural intersections or even blow through stop signs altogether. While this behavior is not as dangerous when fields are low and visibility is high, it can be deadly with tall corn limiting visibility until it is too late. Crops can also reduce visibility on curving roads.
What are the best ways to stay safe:
- Slow down. Follow the speed limit. Where corn is high on curves, reduce your speed.
- If you have a stop sign at an intersection, come to a complete stop.
- Even if you don’t have a stop sign, don’t assume others will stop. Slow down and make sure there is no cross traffic before proceeding into the intersection.
- Talk to young and inexperienced drivers. Inexperienced drivers may simply not know how much more dangerous it is to drive in the country with corn up.
- Although harvest season is not upon us yet, farmers may still be moving machinery around ahead of fall. Watch out for tractors and other heavy equipment on hills, curves, and other areas where tall corn may limit visibility.
- As we head into harvest season, be particularly cautious and drive defensively around agricultural workers, farm equipment, and grain trucks. Keep in mind some of these vehicles will be operated by inexperienced drivers, or drivers who only operate this type of equipment once a year. Driver fatigue is also an unfortunate reality at harvest.