Helping new drivers learn to share road with farm equipment

By Kay Shipman

Jasper County Farm Bureau President Michael Evans helplessly watched his wife, Tina, avoid an accident at the last minute as a pickup passed her when she started a left turn with a tractor and two wagons. Three years later, the potentially tragic near miss remains a vivid memory.

“There was nothing I could do but watch an accident almost happen,” Evans told FarmWeek.

With escalating close calls of vehicle-farm equipment accidents, the county Farm Bureau submitted proposed policy to support teaching young drivers how to safely share the road through driver’s education.

In the fall, Illinois Farm Bureau released a new tool that can help with that goal. IFB developed a rural road harvest safety video to educate drivers on safety tips when driving in rural areas and around large farm equipment.

“They (motorists) need to share the road with equipment. It’s important for drivers to understand signals on farm equipment,” said Kirby Wagner, IFB assistant director of transportation and infrastructure.

Jackie Jones, associate field support director, added the video addresses several scenarios, such as when a tractor fades to the left that doesn’t mean a driver can pass the equipment on the right.

“Remember farm equipment travels 15 to 30 mph. This time of year, there are a lot of vehicles on the road after dark. You need to stay alert for flashing lights and slow moving vehicle emblems,” Jones added.

Every county Farm Bureau received a link to the video, which may be downloaded and burned onto a CD or a USB drive, Jones suggested. 

Watch the safety video below.

In Evans’ opinion, the new rural road safety video offers driver’s ed teachers a great tool for classroom discussions. “Let’s get it out there and in the hands of people who need it. I’d be willing to talk with my superintendent and principal,” Evans said.

In Evans’ opinion, the new rural road safety video offers driver’s ed teachers a great tool for classroom discussions. “Let’s get it out there and in the hands of people who need it. I’d be willing to talk with my superintendent and principal,” Evans said.

Wagner pointed out the video will also be timely in the spring when farmers get back into the field.

Jones encouraged all drivers to slow down and give farm equipment drivers extra space: “It’s better to arrive late than not at all.”

“If you or someone you know is interested in accessing the video, contact your county Farm Bureau,” Jones said.

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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