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Linda GeistWriterUniversity of Missouri ExtensionPhone: 573-882-9185Email: GeistLi@missouri.edu
Photo available for this release:
Texting while driving makes you 23 times more likely to crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Credit: Photo illustration by Jared Fogue, MU Plant Sciences
Published: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016
Karen Funkenbusch, 573-884-1268
COLUMBIA, Mo. - Fall harvest and texting do not mix, says University of Missouri Extension safety specialist Karen Funkenbusch. Turn your cellphone to TTYL (talk to you later).
Rural roads are full of hazards in the fall.
Farmers move large equipment from one field to another during harvest. They make wide turns, and large equipment reduces visibility. School buses make frequent stops on their morning and afternoon runs.
Shortened daylight hours and pending inclement weather force farmers and seasonal farmworkers to work long hours during harvest. Fatigue and stress reduce concentration and increase response time, Funkenbusch says.
Add texting drivers and you have a recipe for disaster, she says. Keep your hands on the steering wheel of your car, combine or grain truck at all times.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that texting makes the driver 23 times more likely to crash. That is the same as driving after drinking four beers, NHTSA says.
Reduce the need for speed during harvest season. At 55 mph, it takes a car just five seconds to close the length of a football field and overtake a tractor moving 15 mph.
Funkenbusch says family members should talk about texting and driving whether they live in town or the country. Remind new drivers of the dangers of slow-moving farm equipment during planting and harvest seasons.
“Courtesy and patience are key to safety on the road,” she says. “Getting to your destination safely is the main goal. A few extra minutes may save lives.”
Farmers and workers should avoid the temptation to talk or text on cellphones while operating combines or driving grain trucks.
Funkenbusch offers these tips for drivers:
For more information on how to be safe on the farm, go to extension.missouri.edu/farm-safety.
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