A farmer unloads soybeans during harvest. Sheriff Merchant reminds drivers to be alert and mindful of farm equipment on the roads this time of year.

It's harvest time in Northeast Kansas and Brown County Sheriff John Merchant wants to remind everyone to take extra caution on the roads.

"A lot of the farm machinery takes up much of the roadway, especially on rural country roads," he said. "Use extra caution when driving and allow plenty of space between you and farm equipment at all times. Drivers are urged to drive with that in mind, and to make sure you are aware of your surroundings especially when cresting hills, not knowing what is on the other side."

Sheriff Merchant said many accidents happen in the early morning or later afternoon hours when the sun is just rising or setting, causing blind spots. Also accidents occur when drivers are trying to pass machinery as view of the farmer can become obstructed due to the equipment.

"Some times motorists feel they are behind schedule and try to make up time on the road and try to pass in unsafe locations," he said. "Remember, safety first, accidents can be avoided and we are asking your cooperation in making this harvest a safe one."

He also reminded everyone to please buckle up and arrive safely at the intended location.

"After speaking with area farmers, it appears that the harvest will be very good this year, so there will be a lot more grain trucked out of the field so the roadways will be very busy," he said. "Again, please remember to drive defensively and be alert."

He also reminded drivers that with school in session, school buses are also on the road and need to be given a safe distance.

"Be prepared for them to pick up students and make frequent stops," he reminded. "ALWAYS come to a complete stop when the STOP arm is activated on the school bus."

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