Caution is advised for drivers when tractors are out on the road

Wheat being harvested in Kiowa County in southern Kansas on June 9, 2016. (Photo: KSN/Chris Arnold)

GARDEN PLAIN, Kan. (KSNW) – Harvest season is here meaning you will see more farm equipment on the road.

Experts say, that can often lead to safety issues.

Jon Kerchsen and his family have lived on this farm for generations.

It’s his favorite time of year: long nights, and hot days spent under the Kansas sun, harvesting the wheat crop. But, driving his tractor is challenging.

“We have to cross Kellogg cross on our farm, two different sets of fields,” Kerchsen said.

Kerchsen has a couple thousand acres right off of Kellogg and during harvest he and his crew are required to cross the highway.

“We have to go down the road there’s no other access to it,” explained Kerchsen.

But, once they put the combine on the road they know they’re always taking a chance, because at 15-20 miles an hour, Kerchsen says vehicles are flying past him.

“I’ve had people on Kellogg try to pass you on the shoulder of the road on Kellogg and you just wait five minutes, we’ll probably be out of your way anyway,” stated Kerchsen.

“In order to work for any farmer and operate machinery over 20 horse power, they have to complete this written test as well as a writing test,” said Zach Simon, Sedgwick County Extension Office.

Simon says every farmer has taken classes before driving machinery on the road. He explains other drivers can be safe with tractors on the road by slowing down, and not swerving around them.

“We just need to be very cautious when we’re in our vehicles that these machines don’t move near as fast as a regular vehicle,” Simon said.

Kerschen has one request for drivers out there; “Just have patience.”

Officials say anytime you come upon a slow-moving vehicle, you are required by law to slow down to their speed before you can pass.