Anytime you drive on rural roads, there is a chance you will be sharing the road with farm equipment. It is even more likely during planting and harvest seasons, which vary according to the crop and location. Drivers who are not accustomed to seeing farm equipment on the road are often taken by surprise by the slow-moving equipment in their paths and do not know what to do or how to safely pass.
What You Need to Know about Farm Equipment on the Road
- Farmers have the right to drive their equipment on the road, even though it can pose an inconvenience for other drivers.
- Farm equipment typically moves very slowly, often 25 miles per hour or less. Because it is large, it may not appear to be moving so much slower than you are until you are too close to slow down, so slow down in advance as you approach.
- Farm equipment moving at less than 25MPH is supposed to have a slow moving vehicle (SMV) emblem or sign displayed on the back, but don’t count on it.
- Like truck drivers, farm equipment operators have blind spots to contend with and may not be able to see you. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if you cannot see the operator’s face, they can’t see you.
- Farm equipment may take up more than one lane of traffic, so be on alert for oncoming vehicles that may have overhanging pieces of equipment in your lane, or may move into your lane to avoid hitting objects on the side of the road.
- Be on the lookout for farm equipment entering the roadway from unexpected places and for equipment that is partially off the road suddenly veering fully into your lane.
- Before passing, make sure the road is wide enough for you to pass.
- Operators will often pull over or partially pull over to let motorists pass, when it is safe for them to do so. However, look for left-hand turn signals if the equipment slows and moves to the right, it make just be a wide left-hand turn.