Farmers anxious to get crop planted, reminded to put safety first
COUNTRY Financial® offers safety tips
for farmers and drivers
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – Cold weather may have slowed the start of planting season in April, but chances are, Illinois residents are now seeing tractors on the road and in fields as they make their way to work and other activities. As the spring planting season gets underway, farmers and drivers may need to be reminded of the hazards that exist in fields and on roadways. Both farmers and drivers will need to adjust to having large, slow-moving agricultural equipment on rural highways and county roads once more.
During planting season, farmers work long hours. While most farmers have started planting, farmers operating under the Federal Crop Insurance Program work with specific deadlines for getting corn and soybeans into the ground. The dates are provided by the United States Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). They vary by state and county.
The following links show Illinois counties and dates for each crop:
- Initial planting dates for corn: April 1, 5, and 10
- Final planting dates for corn: May 31 and June 5
- Initial planting dates for soybeans: April 15, 20, and 24
- Final planting dates for soybeans: June 15 and 20
“Farmers are anxious to get back into their fields and get the job done. They’re working on tight deadlines, but they need to remember to take care of themselves and others in the process,” said Eric Vanasdale, senior loss control representative for COUNTRY Financial®. “Accidents happen when you’re tired, distracted and rushed. Farmers need to be on alert all hours of the day in order to keep themselves and other drivers safe.”
Six considerations for farmers
- Get plenty of rest and take frequent breaks. Drink plenty of fluids and have healthy snacks on hand. Accidents are more likely to occur once fatigue sets in.
- Be familiar with how prescriptions and over the counter medications affect reaction time. Some medications and machinery do not mix. Consult your doctor if your medications impair your ability to safely operate your equipment.
- Tell family and helping hands where you will be working and when. Also, have a cell phone on you at all times in case of emergencies or accidents.
- Avoid driving machinery on roads at dawn and dusk. Vision is most challenged and most accidents happen during these times of day. They’re also peak commuting times for drivers heading to and from work.
- Maintain your equipment. Most farm accidents and deaths involve machinery. Make sure your equipment is maintained according to the manufacturers’ recommendations.
- Know your limitations. Don't push your mind and body past safe and healthy limits.
“Because most farm equipment has been sitting since last fall, farmers may also want to review equipment manuals and inspect their equipment lights to make sure turn signals, flashers and lights work properly,” said Vanasdale. “Safety reflective tape and slow-moving vehicle emblems should also be cleaned so they’re more visible to drivers.”
Recommendations for drivers
Drivers should remember to decrease their speed and approach farm equipment with care. They should obey the Rules of the Road. It is illegal and dangerous to pass farm equipment in a no passing zone. Also, farm equipment may be wider than what is visible from behind and it may be difficult to see if traffic is approaching in the opposite direction. The key to safety when sharing the road with farm equipment is to take caution and have patience.