August 30, 2014

Use extreme caution at rural intersections with tall corn

Nebraska’s corn crop is struggling due to the drought, but the plants are tall enough to cause a visibility problem on some rural roads.

Traffic safety engineer Jeremey Vortherms is reminding motorists to approach rural intersections with extreme caution.

“As the corn comes up in height, it cuts off some of the sight triangles at the intersections, making it hard to see oncoming traffic from other approaches,” Vortherms says.

There are often crashes each year in Nebraska due to sight obstruction on rural gravel intersections and at driveways.

Many rural intersections are not marked with stop or yield signs. Some motorists speed through those intersections if they don’t see dust from an approaching vehicle.

Even with the lack of rain, according to Vortherms, only watching for that cloud of dust is a bad idea.

“We try to encourage people not to just rely on the dust trail at this time of year. When we get rain, that dust trail…it just doesn’t exist,” Vortherms said.

He adds, defensive driving at slower speeds on rural roads is critical at this time of year.