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View from the Cab: Stay safe



By Kent Casson


I have noticed dust flying in area farm fields, shed doors are wide open and planters have been spotted throughout the countryside. It is planting time in Central Illinois and here are some reminders to stay safe this season.


Experts say farmers should review electrical safety before planting. Train workers, including family members and seasonal help, about all electrical hazards. When working near power lines, have a spotter on the ground who can direct you away from those lines or poles if equipment is getting too close.


If machinery or a truck makes contact with a power line, pole or guy wire, that machinery can become the electricity’s path to ground and the operator can become electrocuted if they step out of the cab. You should call 911 to have your local electric company dispatched to de-energize the power source. Only exit a cab when equipment is on fire and if this happens, make a solid jump out and hop away with your feet together as far as possible.


Farmers should plan travel to avoid rush hour, bad weather, the busiest roads and the time before daylight and after dark. Be obvious to motorists by using reflective Slow Moving Vehicle emblems on any implement of husbandry operated on public roadways. Reflective marking tape should be used with reflectors on extremities of equipment. Turn on hazard lights when traveling down the road and install mirrors wide enough to see what is behind you.


If conditions are safe, pull over on the shoulder of the road allowing traffic to pass. Always slow down on turns and curves and minimize the width of equipment as much as possible as not to interfere with traffic in an adjoining lane. When practical, truck larger equipment to the next location.


There are also tips for motorists to keep in mind during planting season. Reduce speed when encountering equipment on public roads and remember those flashing amber lights mean “caution.” Slow down whenever you see the big reflective triangle on equipment, meaning a tractor moves at a slow rate of speed. Keep a safe distance from equipment so the farmer can see you.


Only pass wide, large farm equipment if you know conditions are safe to do so and you are sure the farmer will not make a left-hand turn and be cautious when pulling back in. It is illegal to pass in a no passing lane or within 100 feet of an intersection, railroad crossing or bridge.


If we all remember these safety tips, we will have a safe spring planting season. Good luck to all of my farmer friends out there – I hope the season goes well.

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