Much of middle America is covered in waving fields of corn by the time August hits, but these lovely 8-foot tall shimmering seas of delicious future high-fructose syrup hold a dark side (besides childhood obesity) as cornfields can make traversing rural roads incredibly hazardous.
I am not sure why I never thought of this, but we are now entering killer corn season. I guess it just shows how much of a city slicker I truly am. I came across this warning from the small Minnesota organization Lyon/Redwood County TZD Safe Roads Coalition Facebook page, though, that made it completely obvious:
Indeed, a quick search through news archives shows a horrible crash blamed on high corn every few years it seems. Just this morning, a car crashed into an ambulance in rural Illinois, killing three. The PJStar reported the ambulance was not running sirens or lights and the area was surrounded by soybean, which can grow to five feet, and cornfields. In September of last year, a man was killed in Nebraska after tall corn led to a fatal collision between a semi and his pickup, according to 6 News. Tall corn was also blamed for a fatal crash in Iowa in 2015, and a 2007 crash led to a Nebraska Supreme Court ruling that farmers are not liable for corn-based crashes.
It doesn’t help that places with corn on every corner tend to also be the kind of places without traffic lights at the majority of crossings and gravel roads, which can add another layer of complication.
If you’re hoping to cram one last summer road trip around a rural area, take it very slowly, and stay aware of the area around you. It doesn’t hurt to slow down and sneak up on those intersections, even when it seems like you’re the only one on the road.