TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI)— It’s harvesting season in Tippecanoe County, and farmers are warning drivers that they’ll soon have to share the road more than usual.
That’s because farmers will be out on the roads driving combines and tractors.
News 18 spoke with a farmer about how drivers can help keep the roads safe this harvest season.
Drew Vanderkleed, Owner and Operator of Vanderkleed Farms in Tippecanoe County, said combines and tractors can be out all day.
He said farmers can be using the large machines anywhere from 7:00 in the morning to 10:00 at night.
He said it’s not ideal to be driving the machines when it’s dark out, but sometimes that is the only way to get harvesting done on time.
In the next couple of weeks, drivers will start to see more and more farmers out on the roads with harvesting equipment.
Many drivers already know these machines take up a lot of space on the road.
According to Vanderkleed, the combines and tractors only travel up to speeds of about 20-25 miles per hour. which makes it tempting for drivers to want to pass.
We asked Vanderkleed how drivers can safely do that.
“If you’re coming up from behind one, don’t get too close," he said. "Because the closer you are to us, the less you can see around us. So that makes it hard to know when it is safe to pass.”
Vanderkleed added if you drive too closely, farmers have a harder time seeing you.
Keeping the roads safe during harvesting season isn't just the responsibility of drivers, it's up to farmers to practice safe traveling as well.
Vanderkleed told News 18 all farmers do their best to keep the roads safe for drivers. He shared how he stays cautious while driving these machines.
He explained that he tries to pull off to the side of the road and allow drivers to pass him as often as he can.
However, the main thing he asks from drivers is to have patience.
“We’re trying to get out of your way as much as we can," Vanderkleed said. "It’s hard to pull off the road as often as we’d like because there’s certain times where there’s a sign or a culvert or a ditch is really unsafe.”
Vanderkleed said drivers can expect combines and tractors to be out on the roads for a couple months. He expects harvesting to be complete by early December.