Troopers remind drivers how to share the roads with farm vehicles

LONG GROVE, IOWA  --  A crash that killed a nine year old girl in Sterling, Illinois happened during a dangerous time for drivers. Whiteside County Deputies say the driver tried to pass a tractor pulling a grain cart on Route 40 on Saturday October 5th, 2019.

Troopers are now reminding drivers to drive carefully during harvest season.

"There's going to be a lot more equipment coming out," Iowa State Trooper Dan Loussaert said. "Don't assume that the farmer sees you."

A wet spring has caused farmers to get a late start to harvest season. They may be working quickly, but that doesn't mean they are driving quickly. Farm vehicles on the road will not drive faster than 35 mph.

"Be careful when passing and give as much room as possible," Trooper Loussaert said.

It's the size of the farm vehicle that make sharing the roads potentially dangerous. Loussaert said an empty grain bin weighs roughly 70,000 pounds. That's around the same weight as a loaded semi truck.

"The size and the weight of the farm vehicle is going to do more damage to the passenger vehicle," Loussaert said.

Standard road rules still apply when passing a farm vehicle. If there is a solid yellow line on your side of the road, it is illegal to pass the farm vehicle. If the line is dashed on the road, then it is legal to pass as long as it is safe,

"We don't want you ant you passing on intersections, including just farm intersections," Loussaert said.

Newer farm vehicles have back cameras, but that doesn't mean the farmer can see you. Farmers can help cut down on accidents by installing reflective emblems on the vehicles to warn other drivers of a turn.

"Sometimes we just cant get over far enough to let people by so just a little patience," Loussaert said.

Illegally passing a car or farming equipment in Iowa can cost you a nearly$200 fine.

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