Take Steps To Protect Yourself from Dangers 0f Rural Driving
Bob Aherin, Extension Agricultural Safety Specialist
Department of Agricultural Engineering,
When you're driving on a highway in a rural area, you're at greater
risk for a fatal crash than when you're driving in the city. You
need to protect yourself when driving in the country. In Illinois
each year, there are typically over 275 motor vehicle collisions
with farm equipment on public roadways. One of the most important
things you can do to be safer on rural roads is to slow down.
Keep your speed at or below the posted limits. If you're driving
in the country and don't see a posted speed limit sign, remember
that the maximum legal speed on most open non-freeway and non-interstate
highways is 55 miles per hour. Speed limits are often posted lower
because of road conditions, construction, curves, or hills.
Watch out for farm machinery when driving in the country. Remember
that combines, tractors, and the implements they're pulling are
usually traveling less than 25 miles per hour. Keep an eye out
for the red and orange fluorescent 'slow moving vehicle' emblem
and adjust your speed accordingly. If you need to pass a farmer
pulling his equipment on the highway, try to make visual contact
if possible. Wait until the machinery operator knows you're there.
Many farm equipment operators will pull their machine over where
there is a safe area. However, that's not always possible, especially
if the edge of the roadway is steep or without a shoulder.
If you're a farmer, make your implements as visible as possible.
State laws regarding machinery lighting and marking require at
minimum a SMV emblem at all times. If moving at night, equipment
must have two red taillights mounted as far right and left as
practical, two white headlights visible for at least 1,000 feet
to the front and at least one flashing amber light. It is also
recommended for enhanced visibility to have an amber flashing
light mounted on the far right and left of tractors and implements
that is visible to both the front and rear. Recent research has
shown that farm equipment visibility can be greatly improved by
placing retro-refelective tape at the extremities on all sides
of farm implements. A set of reflective material specifically
assembled for farm equipment is called the FARM kit and is available
from Farm Bureau offices, many farm equipment and chemical dealers