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It’s Harvest time: the first frost has appeared and the leaves are changing. I’ve been spending nights watching my third grader start his football career. At the same time, fall field work is heading into full swing. According to the Rural Highway Safety Clearinghouse at the University of Minnesota, half of the 42,000 crash-related fatalities in the United States occur on two-lane rural roads. These roads may become even more dangerous as more farm equipment is on the roads. Sure, it can be slow and bothersome for the amount of road the vehicles take up, but the reality is that the farmers are working.

Over time we’ve represented a number of people who have been in collisions involving farm equipment. Rarely are the effects minimal. 51% of all farm accident deaths involve farm tractors, with rollovers being the most common type of tractor accident. There were 33 farm-related deaths in the Illinois from July 2008 through June 2009. In 2006, two people died and 62 were injured in Minnesota. The message has to be to slow down and keep a good look out.

Safety hints

Some safety hints from the Department of Public Safety:

• Give farm vehicles and hauling trailers more space and remember that they normally travel more slowly.

• The leading cause of crashes is improper or unsafe passing. Large farm equipment is hard to see around, especially on two-lane roads.

• Watch for debris falling from the vehicles. If there is debris, it’s safer to brake or drive through it than steer into oncoming traffic or go off the road.

• Most crashes involving farm vehicles occur in the harvesting months of September, October and November.

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