Local farmers stress the importance of road safety during harvest season

Local News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – As harvest season begins for some farmers, the importance of driving safely near large equipment is being stressed.

Although he hasn’t been involved in an accident on the road, Vigo County farmer Brad Burbrink says that doesn’t mean that some situations aren’t too close for comfort.

“There’s always been those breathtaking moments where all of a sudden you come up over a hill and you’re over as far as you can and there’s a car coming on a county road, who knows how fast but it feels like they’re running 50-60 MPH right at you,” said Burbrink, partner at BE-N-AG Farms.

With harvest on the horizon and for some already in progress, farmers say large machinery will begin traveling on the roads more frequently.

“Most of this equipment does maybe 20 miles an hour,” said Terry Hayhurst, owner of Hayhurst Farms.

Hayhurst says due to the size and limited speed that the equipment can move often times farmers do try to make way for other vehicles, but for the times when they cannot drivers should be cautious.

“If you’re going down the highway at 60 miles an hour and there’s a piece of farm equipment, if you’re not paying attention you will come up on it a lot quicker than what you think,” Hayhurst said.

Farmers say while an accident with a car would likely leave behind some expensive repairs, they say in most cases it is who is on the other end who take on extreme risks.

“Say an automobile that weighs 6,000 pounds vs. a piece of machinery that weighs 40-60,000 pounds. The give there is pretty well going to be the automobile in most situations,” Burbrink said.

This is why both farmers and law enforcement say with simple precautions that this fall will be both a safe and successful harvest.

“Remember to be patient with them and leave a little earlier to go to work. This is the livelihood for these farmers this time of year to get to their fields and get their crops out,” said Chief Deputy Jason Bobbitt, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office.

“We don’t want to get hurt and don’t want to hurt anybody else either. We have to share the road and work together,” Hayhurst said.

Farmers also say that lights are used on farm equipment and if you approach flashing lights while driving at night that you should begin to slow down.

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