Timing, as they say, is everything. And there’s no time like the present to take up a defensive driving course, according to Livingston County Farm Bureau Manager Jody Hughes.
    In Tuesday’s edition of the Daily Leader, Livingston County Sheriff highlighted the alarming growth of distracted driving citations, accidents and fatalities, and the resultant need for an increased police traffic patrol presence around county roads.
    Meanwhile, the Farm Bureau has announced it is offering a defensive driving course to Farm Bureau members and the public. Hughes stated that lessons learned in such courses could help motorists in rural counties like Livingston avoid farm equipment, which was an additional, seasonal concern raised by the sheriff.
    “They’ll be learning about how they can be a defensive driver and pay better attention to their surroundings, being cautious of other drivers and things like that,” she said. “I think the lessons we’re offering ties in very well with what the sheriff was talking about concerning this time of year, with all of the agricultural equipment out there on the roads and highways. We don’t want to see the farming accidents, where there’s lots of big equipment on the road.”
     Though the course is catered toward those 55 and older, Hughes said anyone could sign up. The course, offered May 1-2 at the Livingston County Farm Bureau office at 901 W. Howard St., will be instructed by Doug Sommer of Sommer’s Safety Sessions. Sommer, the Farm Bureau manager added, was from central Illinois and was thus capable of teaching lessons specific to rural concerns.
    “Doug has a lot of energy and a lot of different ways of teaching, and I think he’s good at making drivers thing more,” she said. “Sometimes, when we get behind the wheel, we only think about ourselves and how we’re driving. But I think there’s a bit more to it than that, like thinking about other drivers and being able to prepare for anything, like pedestrians or emergency vehicles.
    “Since he’s from the central Illinois area, I’m sure he’ll highlight things like being extra cautious when it comes to, say, driving through the fields when the corn is really high or being able to navigate roadways with the tractors and combines and trucks hauling equipment. He’ll certainly cater to the residents of this area and the specific dangers or concerns of driving in a more rural setting.”
    Hughes said that the course will run from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on both days, noting that the cost to Farm Bureau members is $30 per person and that the cost for non-members was $40 per person. She added upon completion of the two-day course, the driver may be eligible for a discount on insurance.
    More information about the Farm Bureau’s defensive driving course can be received by contacting the Livingston County Farm Bureau office at 815-842-1103.