Three state agencies are teaming up to keep drivers and farmers safe on central Illinois roads during harvest season.
The Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Police will promote a program called “Caution, Slow Down, Share the Road,” which encourages rural road safety, The (Bloomington) Pantagraph reported.
“You should expect to see more tractors and farm vehicles on the roads as harvest season gets underway,” said IDOT spokesman Brian Williamsen. “Be alert and use caution as they will be moving at a slower speed. Please be patient and give farm vehicles lots of room.”
Bart Bittner, a farmer east of Bloomington, advises drivers not to drive directly behind farm equipment because farmers won’t be able to see them.
“These vehicles are large and slow moving,” Bittner said. “They are designed to operate safely at 25 to 26 miles per hour.”
Bittner said that farmers should also fulfill their responsibilities to promote safety on the roads. Combines should have flashing amber lights and equipment should have an emblem on the back to warn drivers that they’re slow-moving vehicles. Side lights should also be operating so other motorists know the width of the equipment before trying to pass.
Bittner added that farmers should pull to the right when they can to let other vehicles pass.
Transportation department data show nearly 250 crashes involving farm equipment occurred in Illinois in 2014. Five people died and nearly 60 were injured.
“When it’s between a car and a combine, the car never wins,” said Peggy Romba, program manager for the Bloomington-based Illinois Farm Bureau.
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