Drivers reminded to be alert to farm equipment on rural roads | Transportation
(KFVS) - The Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Illinois Department of Transportation are reminding drivers to be alert for farm equipment.
They say because of the unseasonably warm and dry weather, many farmers were able to finish their field preparations early this year and are now ready to start planting. That means farm traffic on rural roads will increase drastically the next few weeks, much sooner than usual.
“Field work got off to an early start this year because of the mild weather,” IDOA Acting Director Bob Flider said. “I want to encourage motorists to drive carefully and to be alert for slow-moving farm vehicles on rural roadways until the work is complete.”
According to the Illinois Field Office of the National Agriculture Statistics Service, soil temperatures are warm enough for planting. Most farmers are waiting for the "go date," or the earliest planting date that their crop insurance policies allow, before proceeding. The field office reports five percent of the corn crop is currently in the ground.
“Living in rural Illinois, I know how important and vital a safe distance and visibility is between heavy farming equipment and the motoring public,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider said. “We advise all drivers to prepare for the upcoming planting season and continue to share the road, remain focused, slow down and obey posted speed limits.”
The department suggests the following tips to keep drivers safe when encountering farm vehicles:
- Pay attention and don't drive distracted
- Slow down when encountering slow moving vehicles
- Pass with extreme caution
- Allow extra room when following farm equipment
- Be patient. A farmer can't always move over to let drivers pass
- If you can't see the driver, the driver can't see you. Farm machinery operators may not be able to see you because the large equipment or a load can block part of their rear view
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