The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 15, 2013

Slow down and save lives on rural roads



Illinois Farm Bureau members will join forces with the Illinois Department of Transportation to launch an effort to reduce the number of traffic deaths on rural roads.

Their message should be acknowledged by everyone who drives along the miles and miles of country roads in Vermilion County and the surrounding area.

IDOT officials say traffic-related deaths involving farm machinery rate as the second leading cause of farm deaths in the state since 2008.

With planting season just a few weeks away, large tractors, planters and other machinery will travel rural roads to put in this year’s crop.

Motorists who share those roads must be aware of the potential danger and slow down.

That can be easier said than done out on long stretches of road with no speed-limit signs and few law enforcement patrols.

But excessive speed — and the lack of reaction time associated with it — contribute greatly to accidents on rural roads.

Reduced speed simply is a necessity on many Vermilion County roads.

Some stretches switch from gravel to pavement and back again without warning.

Township highway departments with few road dollars could at least put up warning signs so that drivers can slow before reaching an especially rough patch.

The two organization plan to do what they can — including mounting banners in rural areas — to make drivers more aware of the potential danger.

Pay attention as you travel rural roads this spring and make it a safe trip for all involved.