With farmers inside and outside fields for the planting period, it is important for everyone to do their part to protect our farmers and motorists. Many of the traffic accidents can be avoided by being patient, being very careful and following a few simple recommendations:
Recommendations for motorists:
- Wait until it is safe to pass agricultural equipment. Make sure you have a clear view and plenty of time to get around them.
- Slow down at the first sight of agricultural equipment on the roadway. According to the Iowa Department of Transportation, about 20 percent of all traffic accidents involving agricultural equipment are backward collisions. Problems arise when vehicles driving at higher speeds encounter a tractor or other slower equipment and motorists do not have time to slow down .
- Drive defensively, especially when approaching future agricultural equipment. Impatient drivers can try to pass when it is not safe or when they have poor visibility.
- Be prepared to stop at level crossings when following a vehicle carrying anhydrous ammonia. According to federal and state regulations, all vehicles carrying this substance must stop completely before passing any active railway tracks .
Recommendations for farmers:
- Always mount emblems with slow vehicles (SMEs) on the equipment. This is the law of many states.
- Use turn signals or correct hand signals to communicate intentions to motorists.
- Make sure that the equipment has adequate lighting and / or that an escort vehicle follows you to allow the best visibility to approach
- If the traffic backs up behind you, try to let the traffic pass when there are no oncoming vehicles.
Road safety this planting season is under our control. These recommendations and a little patience, caution and common sense can go a long way to keep our farmers and motorists safe.
 Illinois State University. "Safe Farm – Use SMV badges for your safety."
 Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association. "A Guide to Anhydrous Ammonia Regulations."
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