30 May 2010 - Think Safety First

This Spring, in northern Illinois, one farmer moving equipment from field to field on rural roads has already experienced three auto-corn planter collisions. A farm safety specialist with State Farm Insurance reminds me that farming is close to the top of the list when it comes to dangerous occupations. Another farm safety expert reminds me that the biggest killer is tractor rollover accidents.

So, can we talk too much about practicing safety on the farm or ranch? Or can I remind you too often that "accidents don't always happen to the other person?" Farming and ranching can indeed be dangerous, for adults and for children.

Now that we are moving into the summer driving season I place my first emphasis on safety on rural roads. To our city friends, if you are driving to the country to enjoy the scenery and you are on roads that are not familiar, then slow down and enjoy the scenery. You never know when you come over the top of a hill or around a corner, that there could be a slow moving piece of farm equipment in front of you, doing about 50 miles an hour less speed than you. That means, well, for one farmer, three collisions. He's O.K., his planter is O.K., but two of the three motorists suffered injuries.

If you are a farmer, be sure that your warning lights are working and your Slow Moving Vehicle emblems are in place and easily visible. Speaking of the SMV emblem, let me describe it for those of you not familiar with it; is triangular in shape with a deep red border and an iridescent reflective orange center. In most states, it is legally designated to be used only on slow moving vehicles and is illegal if used in any other way. Let me repeat, it is legal only on slow moving vehicles, it is illegal if used on mail box posts, as driveway markers or anything stationary, so if you are guilty of using it that way, please stop it because that takes away from the meaning of the emblem.

One final point...farmers do have the legal right to be moving their equipment on country roads and highways any time of the year, so be patient if you find yourself in a line of cars behind the equipment, pass only when you can safely do so. And farmers, be a good neighbor and pull to the side when you can to let drivers safely pass you.

Please, as I say every year, I don't want to lose any listeners or readers and more importantly your family certainly doesn't want to lose you. So, be careful out there; it is dangerous on those farms and ranches.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.