Well, it's Saturday, so I have time to sit down and think for a few minutes. It's April 10th, which means that planting season 2010 is upon us here in Illinois. It's a busy, hectic time for farmers, but many motorists are also faced with frustration and stress because of it. Here are some tips for non-farmers in regard to planting time.
- Tractors and other implements are big, and need a wide berth. Always give them space.
- Never, ever tailgate a tractor, especially if it is pulling something. They need plenty of space to turn and may stop or turn at any field entrance along a country road.
- Be careful when you consider passing. Often, the tractor will pull onto the shoulder slightly and open up the road more; usually, this is an invitation to allow cars behind it to pass. If a tractor is pulling equipment or the tractor has triples (3 tires on each side) it might hang into the other lane some. Be conscious of both the road and the farm equipment's position when and if you decide to pass.
- Watch the driver, as they'll often give indications of what they are doing. Be mindful of the traffic's signal lights, as well. This could make the difference in avoiding an accident, as there have been many incident recorded where a driver tried to pass a tractor on the left as the tractor was trying to turn left.
- Some tractors may have blind spots that you wouldn't expect. Be mindful of yourself.
- Overall, use logic and be respectful. If you're kind to the person driving the tractor, usually they'll be kind do you.
Many farmers hate the act of moving machinery, because of the risks faced and the road-raged directed at them. I assume all you ag folks know how to deal with equipment on the road, but these rules could be a gentle reminder to you. Please, all of you, make Planting 2010 easier on our agricultural equipment operators. Use a cool head and sound reasoning when driving in the country this spring.