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View from the Cab: Safety first

Planting may be winding down throughout farm country, but there is plenty of fieldwork left in 2020. That’s why it is important to follow farm safety guidelines so we all get through this together.

Years ago, the Illinois Farm Bureau’s “Quality of Life” action team released a number of tips endorsed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and the Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association, Inc.

Motorists should share the road safely with farm equipment by reducing speed on public roads when seeing the Slow Moving Vehicle emblem. Keep a safe distance from farm equipment in order to be seen and pass only when conditions are safe. Remember, it is illegal to pass in a no passing lane or within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad crossing or bridge.

Always watch for the farmer’s indication of a turn. Most of the new equipment has several amber lights flashing. Since the older equipment is not equipped with turn signals, watch for hand signals from the farmer.

Farmers should avoid traveling during rush hours, bad weather and the time before daylight and after dark. They should also use reflective marking tape and reflectors on the edge of equipment. Mirrors should be installed that are wide enough to see what is behind you. If road and shoulder conditions are safe, farmers should pull over, allowing traffic to pass by.

When practical, larger equipment should be trucked to the next field and equipment width needs to be minimized as much as possible. This way, you will not interfere with traffic in the other lane.

We can all stay safe during a tough time for agriculture if we follow these tips. Safety should always be a top priority for everyone – no matter the time of year.

Our fingers are crossed for better weather in the coming days. We have seen plenty of rain across our fields during May and are hoping the precipitation eases back a bit and comes back when we can really use it during the summer. At least temperatures have warmed which is a good thing. I think it is safe to say the really cool stuff is behind us at this point.

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