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View from the Cab: Harvest safety

By: Kent Casson

As some farmers start to venture out into those fields for another harvest season, let’s all remember to think safety first so we are around for another farming season.

Here are some tips for motorists courtesy of the Illinois Farm Bureau. Reduce speed when encountering farm equipment on public roads as those flashing amber lights mean to use caution. Always slow down when you see the slow-moving vehicle emblem which is an orange reflective triangle warning you that a tractor or combine travels at a slow speed.

Make sure the farmer can see you by maintaining a safe distance from equipment. If you can’t see mirrors on the equipment, the farmer cannot see you. Only pass large equipment when conditions are safe and you are sure the farmer will not make a left-hand turn. Be cautious when pulling back in the lane.

Passing in a no passing zone or within 100 feet of a railroad crossing, intersection or bridge is illegal. Watch for the farmer’s indication of a turn as newer equipment has one or more amber lights flashing rapidly to indicate a turn. Older equipment is not always equipped with turn signals so watch for hand signals or other indicators.

Farmers should only travel with large equipment on the road during slower times of the day by avoiding bad weather, rush hour, the busier roads and the time before daylight and after dark. Reflective marking tape and reflectors should be used at the extremities of equipment and mirrors should be wide enough to see what is following you.

Hazard lights should be turned on when moving large equipment down the road but field work lights must be off for roadway travel. Farmers should also be aware of traffic, whether it’s oncoming, in front or behind. If road and shoulder conditions are safe enough, equipment should pull over temporarily to allow traffic to pass.

Tractors, combines and other machinery should slow down on turns and curves and check traffic behind. Equipment width should be minimized as much as possible, not interfering with traffic in an adjoining lane. Larger equipment should be trucked to the next field location whenever practical.

These tips are a project of the Illinois Farm Bureau “Quality of Life” Action Team and endorsed by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, Illinois Sheriff’s Association and Illinois High School & College Driver Education Association, Inc.

I have noticed a few ends of corn fields taken out in recent days although I haven’t heard any early yield or moisture reports just yet. We will likely see more growers out in the field in the coming days and weeks here in Central Illinois. Harvest has already been happening in the southern part of the state.


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