PHILO, Ill. (WCIA)– “We’re right at the beginning side of things for harvest starting,” said farmer Benjamin Rice. For farmers that means long hours on tractors. “Equipment just keeps getting bigger and bigger which makes it harder as we are transporting it down the road from field to field,” said Rice.
That can make the roads dangerous this time of year. The third week of September is National Farm Safety and Health Week. The Illinois Department of Labor is reminding people to be cautious. “We just want to make sure people at the end of the day go home, both motoring traffic and the farmers,” said Michael Kleinik, Illinois Department of Labor Director. “There’s cars that go flying through those intersections everyday and a semi is up to eighty thousand pounds hauling grain. You can’t stop that on a dime, so we try to be watching out for cars constantly,” said Rice.
Rice says they make sure they have good mirrors and flashing lights on their own equipment, so they can see behind them. There are precautions drivers can also take. “Remember that the farm vehicle operators have limited visibility to the rear,” said Kleinik. “Make sure you know if a piece of equipment is getting out of the way for you or if they’re swinging wide to make a turn. Just sit back and give us room to be able to get out of your way,” said Rice. Cars coming up in front of tractors should also take precautions. “Find a good spot on the side of the road where the ditch is nice. You can get at least halfway if not three quarters way off the road. Just make way for the big equipment and let us pass,” said Rice.