The leaves are changing, the air temperatures are cooling, and fall is officially here. As we are all forced to navigate a time a year where pumpkin spice fills everything we eat or drink, we are also forced to share, for the safety of us all, the roadways with the farmers and their oversized equipment because harvest season is also here.
Most of us agree that this county's rural farming backdrop is what makes it so beautiful. Unlike the sharp lines and drab colors of concrete and steel that fill cityscapes, the skyline in the country is much more surreal. Varying hues of greens greet travelers as they navigate Meade County's secondary roads that wind and weave through cattle pastures and fields full of corn and soybeans.
Like all things of beauty, there is always a cost that comes with maintaining it. The tradeoff for this rural bliss is that once a year, monsters roar back to life in machinery sheds across Meade and its surrounding counties. These steel behemoths mean no ill will towards anyone; they are just here for the harvest. Once it is over, they will head back into their barns for a deep slumber until next fall rolls around.
Farmers' combines are massive, slow-moving pieces of equipment that serve as processing plants on wheels for their owners. They take up their lane and often yours as they travel down roadways moving from field to field. The oversized grain carts and semis that link them to the grain storing facilities where the corn and beans will be stored are also incompatible with many motorists they must share the road with. On one side, you have slow-moving, oversized equipment that requires its lane plus some of the oncoming traffic's lane to move down the road. On the other side, you have small, fast-moving passenger vehicles that often have no regard for fellow drivers as they are either running late, distracted by their phones, or both.
This creates a recipe for disaster that plays out all across America's farmland each fall, often with deadly consequences. Every year, motorists are injured and sometimes even die because of their disregard for farm equipment. It is imperative, especially with our young drivers, that the danger of colliding with a piece of equipment as large as a house is a real threat in these coming months if proper caution isn't used on our roads. Be on the outlook for vehicles with flashing lights and arms waving out their window throughout this fall. They are likely letting you know that just behind the blind curve behind them is a combine or other large piece of machinery headed your way. You should immediately slow down, pull off in a driveway or on the side of the road and allow the equipment to pass. It's a small inconvenience that comes with the farmland that serves as the beautiful backdrop for our county. The farmers want off the highway just as bad as you want them off it. Just take a deep breath, slow down and share the road because, in the end, the only thing that matters is that everyone makes it safely home.