Think safety first!
Fall brings a busy time in our rural life. Harvesting the beans, corn and even beets takes priority in the lives of our farmers. Plus, there’s wheat to get into the ground for next year’s crop. Yes, indeed, it’s a busy time.
These fall activities, if not practiced safely, can be hazardous to one’s health or that of others.
Harvest puts lots of traffic on our county roads and local highways. With the opening of pheasant season this weekend, there will be more traffic pressure on county roads. As a result, drivers need to expect the unexpected.
Coming home from the state cross country meet Friday, I took the Paxton-to-Elsie road. I decided to save a few more miles by taking the county road back over to Highway 61.
Judging by the washboards and soft spots, the road has obviously had a lot of harvest traffic already. While I may have saved a few miles, I certainly didn’t save any time.
Before long, I came up behind a semi that was hauling corn to Imperial Beef. Surprisingly, the wind wasn’t blowing and the dust from the truck just hung over the road.
I followed behind at least an eighth of a mile, just so I could see. Suddenly, I see the headlights of another semi appear through the dust going in the opposite direction. He too had been driving blind through that hanging cloud of dust. Both of us were a bit surprised to see each other. Fortunately, we were both on our side of the road.
I can assure you I was especially happy when I got back on the highway, heading south towards Imperial.
Then, as I approached the intersection to Imperial Beef, I could see the dust hanging from another grain truck heading west toward the highway. What I saw next was especially disturbing.
As the truck approached Hwy. 61, the driver never bothered to slow down. Instead, the driver chose to blow right through the intersection and kept going down the road on the other side of the highway.
I’m sure the driver looked both ways and had assured himself no one was coming from either direction, so why slow down. (I was still about a quarter-mile away.) Perhaps the driver thought, that in the rush of harvest, he could save an extra minute or two by not stopping.
What if there was a vehicle or, worse yet, a bus that was in the driver’s blind spot? Would that extra minute or two have been so precious then? The life of a Benkelman family and that of a semi driver were changed forever when the driver opted not to stop at a stop sign south of Enders. Yes, it can happen.
If you’re one of those farmers repairing the combine, running the grain cart or driving the truck, don’t take shortcuts trying to save a little time. It’s not worth it. It cost my dad his leg when he tried to shortcut safety.
Think not only of yourself but others—Think Safety First!