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KHP warns drivers to watch for farm implements as wheat harvest underway

FILE - The 2022 Kansas wheat harvest kicks off in Kingman County.
FILE - The 2022 Kansas wheat harvest kicks off in Kingman County.(KWCH)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 12:08 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - It’s wheat harvest season, which means farm implements are back on the road in droves and KHP has reminded Kansas drivers to slow down and give them room.

The Kansas Highway Patrol says wheat harvest is officially underway in much of the state and it would like to remind drivers to use more caution and patience when they travel around farm equipment.

“As the busy farming season is underway, each traveler in Kansas needs to be more aware of increased farm implement and truck traffic,” said Lt. Candice Breshears. “In Kansas, we have many trucks exiting and entering the roadways at any given time. Traveling around these vehicles requires extra caution.”

KHP noted that most farm equipment is not designed to travel at speeds over 25 miles per hour. It said farm equipment is also typically wider than the lane of traffic so drivers should allow extra room when sharing the road.

Troopers also said caution should be practiced on all roadways - but especially on busy rural roads with unmarked intersections.

KHP gave the following tips to keep in mind when traveling around farm equipment:

  • Do not assume the farmer knows you are there. Most farmers regularly check for vehicles, however, most of their time must be spent looking ahead to stay on the road and watch for oncoming traffic. Implements are incredibly loud and hinder a driver’s ability to hear an oncoming vehicle.
  • Pass with extreme caution. Do not pass unless you can clearly see ahead of both vehicles. If there are curves or hills blocking the view, wait until you can clearly see the area you are passing in. Drivers should not pass in a designated “No Passing Zone,” even if they are stuck behind a farm vehicle. Do not pass if within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad grade crossing, bridge, elevated structure or tunnel.
  • When a farm vehicle pulls to the right side of the road - it does not mean it is turning or allowing a driver to pass. Due to the size of some farm equipment, the farmer may need to execute wide left turns, so divers should allow implements plenty of room and time to turn and be alert to see if there could be a driveway or field they may be turning into.
  • Be patient. Do not assume that a farmer can move aside to let a driver pass. Shoulders could be soft, wet or steep which could cause the farm vehicle to tip or the shoulder may not support the weight of a heavy farm vehicle. They understand drivers are being delayed and will move over at the first safe place to do so.
  • Think of the slow-moving vehicle emblem as a warning to adjust speeds. When drivers see the slow-moving vehicle emblem, they should immediately slow down. While the emblems are visible from a long distance, it is hard to judge the speed at which servers close in on a vehicle - especially at night.
  • Pay attention. When drivers are not focused solely on the road, they increase their chances of a crash - especially if they should come upon a slow-moving farm vehicle.

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