It’s probably just another behavior trait we can chalk up to human nature, but few would argue that we’re all better at, and more quick to point out, the shortcomings and misdeeds of others before we take a gander in the mirror to see if we, too, might be guilty of similar malfeasance.

    It’s probably just another behavior trait we can chalk up to human nature, but few would argue that we’re all better at, and more quick to point out, the shortcomings and misdeeds of others before we take a gander in the mirror to see if we, too, might be guilty of similar malfeasance.

    That’s the thought process here today, as another sugar beet harvest chugs along, and once again we can’t seem to go more than a day or two without hearing of another crash involving one of the seemingly countless trucks that dot the Red River Valley landscape during these frenetic couple of weeks every fall. Only two short days ago, a Nielsville man driving an SUV rear-ended a beet truck stopped and waiting to make a turn on Highway 75 near Climax, and he was killed.

    Two camps easily and inevitably form when the beet harvest commences each fall and the crash tally starts to add up. The people who don’t drive beet trucks but share the roads with them are quick to point out that beet truck drivers drive too fast and aggressively, they’re too tired behind the wheel, and/or they’re too young and/or inexperienced to drive such big rigs during such a high-pressure harvest. These arguments and accusations are often accompanied by – and this seems to be occurring during this particular harvest more than most – calls for more rules, regulations and restrictions when it comes to who’s allowed to drive a beet truck during the harvest, and the training and/or qualifications they need to possess in order to do so.

     Then, typically, we can count on those who drive beet trucks or at least share their point of view firing back that it’s other motorists on the roads who don’t properly take into account that the sugar beet harvest is underway, there are a lot of big trucks coming and going on the roads, and they need to be especially aware of these special circumstances that manifest on the roads around these parts every October.

    There has to be some middle ground we can all agree to here, right? Like, the sugar beet harvest is always a pretty crazy time, with crazy hours and crazy demands often put on a lot of drivers, some of whom may or may not consistently be up to the task. While there are definitely good apples in the form of experienced drivers who keep safety for them and others foremost in their minds, there are some less-than-good apples, too, who drive too fast and think that for these hectic couple of weeks each October, they essentially own the road. Would more rules, regulations and restrictions improve things? One could argue that they certainly couldn’t hurt, especially if the result is safer roads during the beet harvest.

    But let’s not forget, there are motorists behind the wheel of other vehicles who can be counted on to drive in unsafe fashion and often be distracted while doing so, and they think they own the road, too. 

    We all have to share the road, not just during the harvest, but 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Perhaps the most appropriate rule of thumb to live by is, if you’re presented with an opportunity to drive in offensive fashion or defensive fashion, always choose the latter. Other motorists on the road with you will most definitely appreciate your approach.