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Use care while driving in the country

Published: Friday, Aug. 23, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

Last summer, local farmers saw their fields dry early as a drought gripped most of the Midwest. This year, Mother Nature has been more cooperative. The area’s crops look really good, and experts predict a big harvest.

Corn fields sport tall plants this year, thanks to adequate and timely rain falls.

While those tall, green stalks will mean money in the bank for farmers, they can create real hazards for motorists who must travel rural roads in east central Illinois and west central Indiana.

A good crop year like this one can create almost blind rural intersections if corn is planted almost to the corner of fields.

Motorists who find themselves in such a spot must almost creep across the intersection, hoping to see any oncoming traffic in time to avoid a collision.

The key, of course, is speed. But it’s difficult to convince motorists on lightly traveled rural roads to slow down when it appears there is the only vehicle around for miles.

Easing off the gas pedal at intersections could give a driver just enough of a margin to avoid a crash. And with the sunlight hours growing noticeably shorter as the calendar moves toward autumn, twilight becomes more of a factor for drivers’ ability to see.

It won’t be too long before the huge machines of harvest will begin sharing the narrow rural roads with other vehicles as well. Getting into the habit of taking it easy on country roads now could help avoid an accident as harvest moves into top speed.

Enjoy nature’s beauty on the area’s rural roads, but stay alert for potential dangers. Reaching your destination a little bit later than planned is better than not reaching it at all.

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