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Driving in farm country requires extra care Students get important lesson

By Staff | Jul 28, 2017

According to the federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, agriculture is the second most dangerous occupation in the nation with a death rate at 22.7 per 100,000 workers. Accidents on the nation’s roads contribute to those sad outcomes. Given agriculture’s central role in Iowa’s economy, an emphasis on keeping farm workers safer is of crucial concern in the Hawkeye State.

Many drivers who have little familiarity with large agricultural vehicles share roadways with them from time to time. With that in mind, Webster County Farm Bureau helped sponsor an event this month to give driver’s education students at Southeast Valley High School a better understanding of appropriate safety precautions they should take.

What many people don’t realize is that someone driving to a semi-truck hooked to a grain trailer, a combine, sprayer and tractor with a grain cart, or some other vehicles common in farm country has more limited visibility than does the driver of a standard automobile or truck.

WCFB representatives and others using equipment provided by Landus Cooperative and Harcourt Equipment gave the students a hands-on opportunity to see what driving these vehicles is like.

“Our goal was to let them experience the size and scope of the machinery, to help give them an appreciation,” Steve Peterson, WCFB president said. “This gave us a chance to expose kids that don’t always have an opportunity to see this kind of equipment.”

The students quickly realized that it is important that drivers sharing the road with agricultural vehicles exercise extra caution. They need to recognize the person behind the steering wheel of those large, bulk vehicles may have difficulty seeing them. Visibility limitations are among the hazards those drivers face.

That’s a lesson all of us need to keep in mind as we traverse Iowa’s roads.

Farm News applauds this useful addition to the driver’s education curriculum. We appreciate the efforts undertaken by Webster County Farm Bureau, Landus Cooperative and Harcourt Equipment to make this learning experience available at Southeast Valley High School. It is an excellent augmentation to driver’s education that would be well worth being considered in other communities.

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