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Our View: It’s harvest - Let’s be better motorists

A north central Illinois harvest is a time of prosperity and beauty. It’s a time of long days and nights for our farmers whose livelihood is complicated by many factors including the weather.

Impatient or distracted motorists should not be one of those complicating factors.

According to state police, as farmers move equipment from field to field, they will be traveling at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less. Police are urging motorists to pay attention to the roads and farm equipment that will be moving on the roadways. Drivers should be aware and prepared to slow down when encountering farm vehicles.

It doesn’t always work that way.

A tractor accident occurred near Sterling recently. The Whiteside County Sheriff’s Department report indicated a car attempted to pass the tractor, but the vehicle impacted the tractor’s carriage and a passenger in the car — a 9-year-old girl — died.

“There’s a lot of equipment, tractors, combines that are going to be rolling up and down the roads,” agriculture director John Sullivan said on RFD Radio Network. “Just go slow and cautious and give everyone enough time to get done what they need to get done.”

Motorists should be mindful of the following:

Motorists should not attempt to pass the farm equipment unless it is legal and safe to do so, even if the farm operator waves the motorist around.

If traffic begins to back up behind the farm implement, the operator should look for a safe place to pull over and allow traffic to pass.

Farmers should avoid movements of farm machinery at sunrise and sunset. Visibility is more limited during these times.

For motorists, reduce your speed immediately upon seeing a slow moving implement in front of you. You should maintain a safe driving distance and be patient. Be prepared to share the road with an oversized farm vehicle.

The No. 1 goal for the harvest season is to make it a safe one and is encouraging all motorists and farmers to take the necessary safety precautions.

The beauty of north central Illinois at harvest need not turn deadly.

Let’s all be mindful and slow down for everyone’s sake.

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