Fall harvest is underway here in the Tri-State, and you want to make sure you are aware of a few safety hazards for the safety of farmers as well as motorists.

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The Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office issued a statement on how folks should be a little more cautious this time of year as harvest season is under way. This couldn't have come at a better time, as a local Amish teen that I know was leaving the bean field yesterday and was struck by a vehicle. He is now in the ICU and in serious condition.

You want to make sure that you are always aware of your surroundings while driving, but during harvest season, there are a few things that you should look out for. Here is what the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Department would like to remind you of.

 

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office would like to remind motorists to exercise caution on our county roadways as fall harvest season gets underway. “Our local farmers will be moving farm implements and other agricultural machinery along county roadways in order to access farm fields,” said Sheriff Dave Wedding. "Motorists should be prepared for machinery to enter a field from the roadway or exit a field onto the roadway."

Machinery that travels under 25 miles per hour is required to display a slow moving vehicle emblem (see Indiana Code 9-21-9). “Crashes can occur when a motorist fails to recognize that the machinery they are approaching is moving at a significantly slower speed than normal traffic,” said Sheriff Wedding. “The risk of making this miscalculation increases at night. Don’t attempt to pass slow moving farm equipment unless it is safe and legal to do so.”

 

October and November is breeding season for the white-tailed deer. Once corn starts being harvested, deer will lose their cover and begin moving across roadways frequently. Last year there were 158 crashes in Vanderburgh County that involved deer and 6 of those crashes resulted in injury. 65 of last year's crashes that involved deer occured in October and November alone.

"Traffic typically increases on our rural roadways during the fall, especially in areas known for agricultural tourism,” said Sheriff Wedding. Motorists are advised to slow down and watch for increased traffic in the area of Mayse Farm Market on N. Saint Joseph Ave and Goebel Farms on W. Boonville-New Harmony Rd."

"With motorists and farmers sharing the responsibility of keeping our roadways safe this fall, there is no reason to expect anything less that a successful harvest," said Sheriff Wedding.

 

Fall Harvest Safety Tips:

  • Exercise caution and patience when approaching farm machinery.
  • Farm machinery may enter the roadway at any time, so slow down if you see equipment traveling towards or adjacent to a roadway.
  • Do not pass farm machinery unless it is safe and legal to do so.
  • Farm machinery is typically not equipped with turn signals, so watch for unanticipated left turns and increase your following distance at night.
  • Be aware of increased traffic at agricultural tourism locations.
  • Watch for deer! If you spot one, then expect more to cross.

 

So proceed with caution, be aware of your surroundings, and keep yourself and the farmers safe out there!