MADISON COUNTY, Idaho (KIFI) - After a recent accident involving a combine and automobile in Shelley, first responders are reminding us to be extra careful while on the road this time of year. They have some safety tips we can follow to make sure the farmers and ourselves all make it to our destination safely.
"It's kind of similar to winter driving. We want to incorporate adding more travel time, so make sure you give yourself ample time to get to and from where you're going. It can be very frustrating to get stuck behind a slow moving piece of equipment, but we have to understand and appreciate that it's part of our community, it's part of someone's livelihood, and we all got to eat," Madison County Sheriff's Office public information officer Sergeant Isaac Payne said.
Sergeant Payne says especially while driving those rural roads keep an extra eye out for, "Look for things like the triangle signs. Sometimes that gets a little overlooked. Those reflective triangle signs on the back of a piece of equipment are warning to you that they are moving quite slowly." He added, "Other things you need to look for are flashing amber lights, sometimes replaced by reflective tape that show you the outer edges of the vehicle, which can help you in passing, in going around those piece of equipment when it comes to passing."
Sergeant Payne says to make sure that when passing the equipment to do it safely that way no one gets hurt.
He adds they too have a spot on the road and they might not be able to adjust to let you pass.
"Make sure you pass legally and safely whenever you encounter them. Don't expect them to drive partially off the road so you can get by. That can be very dangerous for them. So make sure that there's room for you to pass. And if you do find yourself in a scenario where you don't feel like there's ample room on the road, it's perfectly acceptable to pull off and let that vehicle go by," he said.
He says the best thing we can do when we find ourselves behind the next tractor or combine we encounter on the road is to, "I would just encourage patience and things like that for people driving and commuting in the area for the farmers."
For farmers, Sergeant Payne says they can help out by doing some simple things as well.
"Make sure all your equipment, including your lights and things are working well. Make sure your lights are cleaned off. Invisible reflective tape where you can't put lights is important. And if we could do things such as avoiding high traffic times, so avoid moving heavy equipment in the higher traffic times, such as the evenings. Those are good times to avoid avoid moving multiple pieces of equipment at once. That can be kind of a hindrance to traffic and back things up quite a bit," he said.
Sergeant Payne also wanted to remind farmers if they need a lending hand to move their equipment to the next field, they can always call law enforcement for some extra help.
"If you ever run into an issue where you foresee problems moving large pieces of equipment through an area, feel free to call us. We can help with traffic control in that area. So those are ways that we can kind of make this whole time move a little smoother."
Payne added in the early morning when the sun is at risk for impeding vision to the road is to help ourselves by making sure we have some wiggle room on the road.
"Reactionary time is key. So if I give that equipment extra space, so extra space in front of me, I don't pull out in front of them and cut them off where we have that extra space, an extra reaction times, or even if it takes us a moment with the sun in our eyes or whatnot, we have the time to react safely."