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Be cautious when approaching

By Staff | Jul 2, 2016

FARMERS KEVIN POPE and Eric Arthur, president of the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau, talk to drivers training students to emphasize the importance of safety when approaching farm equipment on public roads. The presentation was held during a training session at Lake Chevrolet.

CLEAR LAKE – Kevin Pope wanted to educate high schoolers on the issues faced when approaching large farm equipment on public roads.

Last January, the Cerro Gordo Farm Bureau board member suggested a driver training session while he was conducting 2016 programming goals.

It didn’t take long for Drive Wise, a Clear Lake-based private company that holds driver’s training sessions, to get on board with the project.

Pope’s suggestion became reality on June 23 when 43 Drive Wise students participated in a classroom setting, with hands-on situations at the Lake Chevrolet dealership in Clear Lake.

Eric Arthur, president of Cerro Gordo Farm Bureau, said many of the students don’t recognize the issues surrounding farm equipment.

DRIVER’S TRAINING STUDENTS took turns sitting in the cab of a combine, a semi with a grain trailer and a tractor with a grain cart. They were seeing how much rear visibility these pieces of farm equipment have when vehicles are approaching from the rear.

“These students are removed three, four and five generations from the farm,” Arthur said. “They don’t know what is involved.”

Of the 43 students, only one had lived on a farm.

Two Iowa Department of Transportation officers, Sgt. Joe Colman and Officer Taran Waalkens, held a presentation on Iowa law and driving safety.

Parked on the dealership lot were a combine, semi-tractor with a grain trailer and tractor attached to a grain cart.

Vehicles from Lake Chevrolet were parked behind the machinery to show the limited visibility by those drivers in the cab as they approach the machinery from the rear.

SGT. JOE COLMAN, of the Iowa Department of Transportation, led a driver’s training session on being aware of farm equipment on public roads. Along with fellow DOT Officer Taran Waalkens, Colman covered Iowa law and safe driving.

Students sat in the three cabs so they could look behind them using the rear view mirrors and understand where the blind spots were.

None of the vehicles were in motion, so students could understand while they had minutes to observe and understand, under real conditions at road speeds, this happens in seconds.

None of the students knew the weight, size or speed of any of the three vehicles.

Farm Bureau board member Chuck Grove, who is also a farmer, said the education is important.

“If they remember one thing, it will be worth it,” Grove said.

VEHICLES BELONGING to Lake Chevrolet were parked behind a combine, a semi with grain trailer and a tractor with grain cart. This was done so students could see, while sitting in the cab, that there are blind spots in the operator’s line of sight.

Grove’s semi-tractor and grain trailer were used during the session.

Brakke Implement also assisted in the simulation, furnishing the combine, tractor and grain cart.

Lake Chevrolet provided a meeting room and a corner of its lot to park equipment and vehicles used in the demonstrations.

Plans are to repeat this course in August with another class of students.

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