Driving safety with farmers on the roads

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)—Paul Berbaum is hoping for a great farming season. “I planted one field. This is my second field, and conditions are really great,” said Berbaum.

That means he will be on the road quite a bit and that comes with challenges. “There’s a lot of equipment that I transport that’s 20 feet wide when it’s folded up, so that pretty well takes up the road. You got to really be careful and let people by when people come up behind,” said Berbaum.

Judy Weber-Jones teaches driving safety. “It’s a dangerous time of year with the slow moving farm machinery on the roadway,” said Weber-Jones.

She says other drivers should be cautious too. “Just remember farm machinery has gotten bigger, and the country roads haven’t gotten any bigger. Make sure you’re going slow on the overpass because you never know when farm equipment might be on the other side,” said Weber-Jones.

If you see the orange triangle on equipment, drivers should slow down and increase following distance. You should be going slower on country roads due to loose gravel and poorer traction. Farm machinery with a slow moving vehicle sign is going 20 miles per hour or less.

“The majority of people are pretty courteous, but some people drive too fast and are in too big of a hurry, not willing to wait until you can get over,” said Berbaum.

When coming to hills or overpasses always assume the worst, that farm machinery is on the other side. Slow down and stay far to the right. You need to always be focused on driving and distraction free. If you do pass farm equipment, be extra cautious and go slowly around them.

“People have a tendency to pass within 100 feet of an intersection as well which is illegal to do and very dangerous,” said Weber-Jones.

Always give farmers plenty of room. Don’t tailgate, and provide following distance between you and the farm equipment.

Not following these rules could put yourself or others in danger.

“This farm machinery is very heavy, and if they do hit that with their car or pick up truck, it’s going to cause severe damage or death,” said Weber-Jones. “You don’t want somebody to get hurt in an accident involving farm equipment,” said Berbaum.

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