PULLMAN – As students begin returning next week for Washington State University’s Week of Welcome and the start of the fall semester, drivers are being warned that a delayed start in the annual grain harvest throughout the Palouse means the potential to encounter road hazards across the region has significantly increased.

 WSU Police Chief Bill Gardner said greater than normal numbers of slow-moving grain trucks and combines are likely to be encountered on area roads this year and that the problem is often compounded by the hills and short sight lines characteristic of many rural roads.

“We would like to remind all drivers to slow down, be cautious, and alert for slow-moving vehicles when driving in the area, especially during this time of year,” Gardner said. “Even returning students are likely to encounter more harvest-related traffic hazards and delays than they may have experienced in the past. They need to proceed with a good deal of caution and patience anywhere they might travel in the Palouse.”

 Bicyclists, in particular, should exercise caution when travelling on rural roads, which are often narrow and provide little or no shoulder and place them at increased risk, the WSU Police Chief said.