SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As harvest season progresses throughout the state, the Illinois Department of Agriculture (IDOA) and the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) are reminding motorists that farm equipment traffic on roadways will drastically increase over the next several weeks.
“I’m asking for the patience and understanding of motorists during the harvest season,” Agriculture Director Tom Jennings said. “It's very important that motorists be alert for slow-moving farm vehicles and share the roadway until the harvest is complete.”
Last year, six people were killed and 95 injured in 198 accidents involving cars and farm equipment. The past five years (2005-2009), there have been 1,166 such crashes on Illinois roads, resulting in 21 deaths and 412 injuries. Studies show that left-turn, rear-end and passing collisions are the most common types of accidents involving motorists and farm machinery.
“Harvest is one of the busiest times of year for traffic on rural roads and, unfortunately, we see the number of crashes between motor vehicles and farm equipment peak during this time,” IDOT Secretary Gary Hannig said. “We want to encourage all motorists to drive cautiously and to be alert for slow-moving vehicles and farm equipment on rural roadways.”
Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe this harvest season:
- 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 motorists 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.