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Farm equipment safety on public roads is important

On Behalf of | Oct 4, 2018 | Workers' Compensation

Harvest season, which runs through November for many farmers, is a time when safety must be on the mind of everyone who travels around the fields. Often, people will have to navigate farm equipment on public roads to get to the harvests.

Unfortunately, operating on these roads puts the equipment operator in great danger. Accidents between a car and farm equipment can lead to severe injuries or death of the people in both vehicles. Here are some points to remember about safety during harvest season and whenever farm equipment is on the road:

Slow moving vehicle emblems

Many drivers don’t realize that they will have to watch for these slow moving vehicles. In Illinois, all farm equipment that is going to be used on public roads must have a special emblem added to it that denotes the vehicle can’t move at higher speeds. It must be attached to the rear.

This emblem warns drivers that they need to use caution when they are behind the farm equipment. It can be especially helpful at night since they usually have reflective properties. Most crashes between cars and these slow moving vehicles occur from 3 in the afternoon to 6 in the evening.

Highways pose a higher risk

The rate of crashes between cars and farm equipment is much greater on roads that have speed limits higher than 50 miles per hour. Around 70 percent of accidents involving both of these vehicle types happen on these roads.

Line-of-sight and visibility might play a part in these crashes. Drivers may not realize that they are coming up behind the slower vehicle. By the time they do notice the tractor, it can be too late for them to stop.

Another risk in these situations is that the other driver swerves to avoid slamming into the slow-moving vehicle. This can lead to a head-on collision. Even if the tractor isn’t rear-ended, it can be struck when the other vehicles collide.

Injuries can be catastrophic

When a farm worker is injured in a crash on a public road, the injuries they suffer can end their career. They may suffer from spinal cord or brain damage, broken bones, amputated limbs, and other similar conditions. For some, filing for workers’ compensation will help them to get the care they need and may assist them in making ends meet if they are unable to return to work.