State police share road safety tips
Harvest season is in full swing in Southern Illinois. Lt. Shane Alvey, interim commander of Illinois State Police District 13/22, is urging motorists to be alert while traveling on rural roadways.
As farmers move equipment from field to field they will be traveling at much slower speeds than the rest of the motoring public.
Alvey cautioned that drivers should be aware of farm vehicles and prepare to slow down when encountering them.
State police shared some harvest season safety tips:
Farm equipment, which travels at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less, is required to have a slow moving vehicle emblem (bright orange triangle) mounted to the rear of the vehicle.
If traffic begins to back up behind the farm equipment, the operator should pull over in a safe location and allow traffic to pass.
Farmers should avoid movements of farm equipment prior to sunrise and after sunset. Visibility is limited during these times.
Even if the farm equipment operator motions for you to pass, motorists should not attempt to pass farm equipment unless it is legal and safe to do so.
Remember, most farm equipment does not have turn signals. Often times crashes between farm equipment and passenger vehicles occur as the farm equipment is making a left turn and a passenger vehicle is passing the farm equipment on the left.
Any time you approach farm equipment you should slow down. Even vehicles approaching from the opposite direction should slow down. Farm equipment may be over-width and encroaching into the opposite lane of travel.
When approaching farm equipment traveling in the opposite direction, be alert for impatient drivers passing at the wrong time.
As always, keep a safe speed, maintain a safe following distance, do not drive distracted, and be patient.
“We all share a responsibility to keep our roadways safe,” Alvey said on a Facebook post.
“For motorists, obeying the traffic laws regarding passing in a safe location, increasing following distances behind wide implements and paying attention to one’s speed” are key considerations, he stated.
He encouraged farmers to ensure that “all lights on the farm equipment are functioning and visible,” along with having “the proper application of reflective tape and slow moving vehicle emblems.”
He added that “a large measure of courtesy” from both motorists and farmers will go a long way toward achieving an end goal of safety, especially during the harvest.