Because of unseasonably warm and dry weather, many farmers were
able to finish their field preparations early this year and now
are ready to get started planting. That means the farm traffic
on rural roadways will increase drastically the next few weeks,
much sooner than usual.
"Fieldwork got off to an early start this year because of the
mild weather," said Bob Flider, acting director of the
Department of Agriculture. "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
Agricultural Statistics Service, soil temperatures are warm
enough for planting. Most farmers simply are waiting for the "go
date," or the earliest planting date that their crop insurance
policies allow, before proceeding. For much of the state, that
Some planting has already occurred. The field office reported
Thursday that 5 percent of the corn crop is 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," said Illinois Transportation Secretary
Ann Schneider. "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."
Studies show that left-turn, rear-end and passing collisions
are the most common types of accidents involving motorists and
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The departments suggest the following tips to keep motorists safe
when encountering farm vehicles:
Pay attention and
don't drive distracted.
Slow down when
encountering slow-moving vehicles.
Pass with extreme
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.
Illinois Department of
Department of Transportation news release received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]