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View from the Cab: Safety first

By: Kent Casson

As another planting season is in full swing around Central Illinois, let’s all put safety first around the farm.

In order to share the road safely with farm equipment, motorists should remember to reduce speed when encountering machinery on roads and those flashing amber lights mean to use caution. Also, slow down when you see a Slow Moving Vehicle emblem which warns motorists that tractors travel at a slow rate of speed.

Keeping a safe distance from farm equipment so the farmer can see you is vital. If you can’t see the mirrors on equipment, the farmer cannot see you. Passing should be done only when conditions are safe and you are sure the farmer will not make a left turn and be cautious when pulling back in.

Farmers should also share the road safely by planning travel to avoid rush hour, bad weather, busier roads and the time before daylight and after dark. Reflective emblems should be used on any implement of husbandry operated on public roadways since it is the law. Equipment extremities should be marked with tape and reflectors.

Mirrors should be installed on tractors that are wide enough to show farmers what is following them. Always use turn signals indicating plans to turn into fields or driveways and be aware of traffic – oncoming, in front of you and behind you. Farm equipment should be pulled over temporarily if road and shoulder conditions are safe to allow traffic to pass.

Width of equipment should be minimized as much as possible so you won’t interfere with traffic in an adjoining lane. Whenever practical, larger equipment should be trucked to the next location.

Thanks to Secretary of State Jesse White’s office, the Illinois Sheriff’s Association and Illinois High School and College Driver Education Association, Inc. for endorsing these tips along with the Illinois Farm Bureau’s Quality of Life action team.

If we all keep safety in mind this spring, we can get through the planting season with minimal problems and less stress. We had our share of stress last week as snow fell on Central Illinois in late April. One of my soybean fields was planted the day before so we’ll see how those seeds do. Hopefully, the weather turns around from here and starts to look up for all of us.


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