Harvest season is here in Indiana and across the Corn Belt, and that means it’s time to pay extra attention on rural roadways. Farmers will be doing that as they move from field to field and motorists are asked to do the same.
Sergeant John Perrine, Indianapolis District Public Information Officer for the Indiana State Police and Indiana farmer Nick Starkey from near Lebanon have joined Hoosier Ag Today and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture to help emphasize the need for road safety. They’re part of the 2022 harvest safety video now live at the HAT YouTube channel.
“Well, certainly roadway safety is our number one priority,” says ISP’s Perrine. “Our goal is that everybody can be safe while they’re traveling on Indiana roadways. And this time of year, throughout Indiana, we see a lot of farm equipment on the roadways. It’s important that people have a plan and know what to do when they approach that equipment.”
If you are willing to be patient with a situation you may encounter, you’re already putting safety first.
“Absolutely comes down to patience,” he says. “These farmers want to get from A to B just like you do, and so by working together it can be safer for everybody. Give them a chance to find a safe place for them to pull over. Also give yourself a chance to find a safe place to pass them.”
Starkey donated his time, equipment, on-camera talent and expensive diesel fuel for the video project. But a safe harvest makes for the perfect payback.
“Yeah, I mean, it’s super important and it’s something that’s even more important to me now that I’m a father, and I think about it more, about being safe and making sure I make it home in the evenings and also understanding just the amount of power that we have behind the wheel with this big equipment,” Starkey told HAT. “It has the potential to create a lot of damage, create a lot of problems. So, we’re trying to be aware and also promote other drivers being aware of something that they’re not used to, passing a combine, tractor, stuff like that.”
Do you need another reason to be cautious and patient approaching farm equipment? The farmer’s ability to see everything around him is not perfect.
“The technology has come a long way to where we have some extra cameras to where we can see behind us, things like that, but there’s definitely blind spots. We’re driving down the road with corn heads folded up, and that creates a lot of blind areas out in front of us. So, objects that may be smaller or pedestrians are sometimes difficult to see or impossible to see. So yeah, there’s definitely blind spots and areas you can’t see, depending on the equipment.”