FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Harvest season is underway in the Heartland, and that means more large farm equipment will be out on the roads.
To make sure everyone gets where they’re going safely this season, Franklin County farmer Jim Hood says it’s best to just be patient, and remember the guy on the tractor ahead of you is on the clock.
“We apologize, but we’re feeding the world," he said. "So give us a break. We have a job to do too.”
Hood runs his family’s farm in Royalton. He says he’s fortunate enough to have never had one of his guys get hit, however they’ve had some close calls.
Last spring, he said a man on a motorcycle sped under a tall combine. Hood said he made it through, but his employee driving the combine was shocked by the recklessness.
In 2016, the Illinois Department of Transportation recorded 424 traffic incidents that involved farming equipment. This included 3 fatalities.
Hood said most of these happen at night.
While it may be tempting to pass one of these 60,000 pound, slow moving, pieces of machinery, Hood says this isn’t a good idea.
“The left turn is where it gets dangerous,” he said. "Because people will be trying to pass you, and it’s so big you can’t see them and you’ll be turning into them.”
Hood said him and his employees try to pull over and let cars pass when they can, but there’s not always space to do so. However, even if you’re impatient about it, odds are whatever piece of farming equipment is holding you up probably won’t be on the road very long anyway.
“The furthest we ever travel is 17 miles,” Hood said. “But we try to take back roads.”