News from the chief

Chief of Police Matt Andres
Sleepy Eye Police Department
The Sleepy Eye Herald Dispatch

Now that fall is here, we are sharing the road with farm equipment. During this season, the area farmers are completing their year of work in the fields. This culminates with the need for them to venture out of the fields to move equipment, repair equipment and deliver product. This sharing the road happens to some degree during spring planting, but not near to the effect as in the fall. I understand that this can be somewhat frustrating for other drivers; I have felt that as well, stuck behind large equipment on the road.

Overall, this is a short time that farmers need to use the roads and we need to understand that they not only have a right to the use of the roads, but they are providing an essential service to all of us. If you consume food, then farming is essential to you.

When sharing the roads please be aware of the right-of-way laws. At an uncontrolled intersection, any vehicle on the right has the right-of-way over any vehicle on the left. Any vehicle turning left in front of another vehicle in an uncontrolled intersection must yield to the vehicle going straight. At an uncontrolled T-intersection, the vehicle required to turn must yield to the cross traffic.

Please use caution when you pass farm equipment. Make sure there is ample time for the pass. Farm equipment is by nature heavy, especially if that equipment is pulling full loads of product. Heavy vehicles are not able to stop as effectively as a passenger car. Please be mindful about this; if you pull out in front of farm equipment or stop quickly in front of farm equipment, they are less likely able to stop to avoid an accident. An accident with farm equipment comes down to the rule of lug nuts. The rule of lug nuts was taught to me by a now retired State Patrol Trooper. The rule of lug nuts states — he with the least amount of lug nuts loses the accident.

Please give all large machinery on the road space, whether farm equipment, construction equipment or semi tractors. A little space can make the difference between life and death. I remember when I moved to Sleepy Eye 17 years ago, my then girlfriend, now wife, had to teach me how to drive around farm equipment and how to drive on gravel roads. It seems like second nature now, but please remind all young drivers (or transplants from the cities) to exercise caution with large equipment. Let us have a safe fall and assist the area farmers while they finish their harvest. Thank you to all area farmers for what you do. I wish you a safe and productive harvest.