Tractors, combines and cars don’t mix well on roads

All drivers need to be extra careful as farm equipment is big, very slow and not easy to maneuver as it goes from field to field via the roads.

Now that the fall harvest season is underway, slow moving farm tractors, combines, implements of husbandry (wagons, trailers) and other equipment not only traverse farm fields, but also will be on local and sometimes narrow roads. The orange and red, triangular Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblems are a good sign for the protection of farm equipment on the road and for the motorist who sees it while driving. Whether you are a farmer or a motorist out for a drive in the country, a bright and visible SMV emblem can help protect you from traffic collisions.

The SMV emblem is required by law to be visible on farm tractors, implements of husbandry, animal-drawn vehicles and special mobile equipment, such as road graders. The emblem must be used anytime these vehicles are on public roads, regardless of speed or time of day.

The SMV emblem should be mounted with the point up on the center rear of farm equipment between 4 and 12 feet above the road surface. If a towing unit obscures the SMV emblem, the towing unit should be equipped with an SMV emblem.

All farmers should replace damaged, faded or otherwise poorly visible SMV emblems with new and clean ones. The brand new SMV emblems are even brighter and more visible than before. Farmers should also use flashers, road lights and turn signals when on the public roads. They should make sure that all tractors, implements and machinery have clean, bright and visible SMV emblems.

Motorists going to work in Toledo, Ohio, Ann Arbor, Mich., Monroe, Mich. or Detroit should use extreme caution and reduce their speed when they see the fluorescent orange and red SMV emblem. Motorists should drive defensively and watch for unexpected or left-hand turns or stops. Remember that most farm equipment is very slow and much heavier than the automobile.

Life in the slow lane can be dangerous. Sudden stops and turns can spell disaster. For everyone’s safety as the fall harvest season continues, everyone should always drive carefully and defensively.

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