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Cane carts on the road, be safe - Daily Iberian - 9/29/2015 -

Daily IberianIt is time to share the roads and highways with oft-slower, usually larger sugar cane carts pulled by tractors or by tractor-trailer rigs, better known as 18-wheelers, with huge bins that hold the load.

To do so safely should be the ultimate goal for sugar cane farmers, motorists and everyone else involved with the annual harvest by an industry we just saluted with a nearly weeklong festival and fair in New Iberia. Certainly, there are those who cringe when the season rolls around and many are the first to complain about the mud on the surface, about the slow-moving, top-heavy carts/tractors that sometimes don’t pull over, about the object(s) that might be dislodged from the cart and hit the windshield.

No one, I’m sure, is pleased with either issue when they face it. However, people must keep safety in mind.

Sugar cane that stood tall in the field before harvesting doesn’t magically appear at the nearest sugar mill. The fact there are fewer mills operating today than a decade ago means many haulers must travel more miles, often many more miles.

Farm road safetySo the farm equipment and people that operate it spend many hours in the field and just as many on the road from sunrise to sunset. The former is when we, the other motorists sharing the road, meet the carts/tractors and tractor-trailer rigs most often.

With that in mind, and to possibly avoid accidents, leave a little earlier than usual for your morning destination, such as a workplace, school or boat landing. That way chances are good you won’t be rushing to get where you’re going.

Here are some general safety tips for motorists to remember:

• Drive with extra caution on muddy stretches of road. (Teche Area sugar cane farmers have made a concerted effort thepast few years to keep roadways cleaner.)

• Recognize "Cane Loading Site” signs as warnings that large, slow-moving tractors and trucks are nearby.

• To avoid damage from falling cane or other debris, keep at least a two-car length distance between your vehicle and carts / trailers.

There is no substitute for safe driving practices, on our part or the part of the sugar cane haulers.


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