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Drivers need to watch for trucks on the road

Be careful out there.

That's the word for motorists after a spate of fatal collisions in the area.

There are farm trucks and construction vehicles on the roads. The potato harvest is underway, and the sugar beet harvest is coming up soon. Watch for trucks!

On Saturday afternoon, a New York Mills woman died in a collision with a semi truck hauling potatoes. She failed to yield at a stop sign at a rural intersection.

On Sunday afternoon, a Wadena man died in a collision with a potato truck at a rural intersection. The farm truck had the right-of-way.

On Friday, of course, a horrific accident involving a passenger car and a construction pickup hauling a trailer took the life of a young mother and her two children near White Earth. That collision is still under investigation.

Perhaps surprisingly, most truck accidents happen during the daytime, and most fatal crashes involving trucks occur on less traveled state highways or county highways.

Of 64 fatal truck crashes in Minnesota last year, 32 occurred on state or county highways.

Twenty-seven happened on Interstate highways or U.S. trunk highways. Five occurred on local streets. None occurred on county or township roads.

For whatever reason, rural areas are more likely to see fatal truck accidents. Most happen between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. during sunny, dry weather, perhaps because motorists are less likely to be on their guard.

Probably because high speeds are more often possible in the rural open countryside, crashes here are more severe. Sixty-five percent of fatal and 45 percent of truck-related injury crashes occurred in the rural areas of Minnesota, according to the Minnesota Office of Traffic Safety's 2008 Crash Facts.

So be on your guard, don't get too comfortable with your usual route, and drive defensively.

The trucks are on the move.