JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Authorities in Illinois are warning drivers to watch out for heavy farm equipment now that the harvest season is approaching.
Late September and early October is considered by some farmers to be the busiest time for farm equipment traveling on public roadways.
Carbondale farmer Brian Cooper said that's when people should expect farmers to move out and harvest soybean and corn crops.
One of the more recognizable pieces of equipment for such a task is a combine, which can be as wide as 18 feet or more.
The lane width of most highways is around 12 feet, according to the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration.
"These things are real big and real slow," Cooper said. "And a lot of people don't realize how slow they are and they fly up on them to fast."
Illinois State Police Trooper Joey Watson said such vehicles do require special care from both farmers and motorists, but not special treatment.
"Do not pass when it isn't legal to pass anything else," Watson said. "A lot of people think that just because it's slow they can whip around it in a no passing zone, but that's not the case."
According to the most recent numbers from the Illinois Department of Transportation (2014), there were 241 crashes involved farm equipment in Illinois, leading to 57 injuries and five deaths.
"Oftentimes, these are very devastating crashes as well because you're striking a very, very large piece of equipment that does not budge very much," Watson said.
Watson also advised against using the official Slow Moving Vehicle signage for other purposes, especially in rural areas.