SMV emblems help prevent roadway accidents

Spring is in the air, and farm equipment is back on the roads. Both farmers and motorists can do their part to avoid accidents by taking some simple steps.

“There are more people on the roads these days, and fewer of them understand that farm equipment doesn’t move as fast as their vehicles,” said Bruce Stone, Virginia Farm Bureau’s safety manager.

“We can help each other out if farmers do their part to alert motorists to their equipment and motorists exercise a little caution when they encounter equipment on the road.”

Farmers need to maintain a proper slow-moving vehicle emblem on the back of equipment designed for operation at speeds not in excess of 25 mph or normally operated at speeds not in excess of 25 mph when traveling on a public highway. The fluorescent orange triangle in the center of the SMV emblem is highly visible in daylight, while the red border reflects the headlights of approaching vehicles at night.

Amber strobe lights and reflective tape also help make the equipment more visible to motorists.

“Adding a strobe light and reflective material, especially on wide equipment, can help reduce farmers’ risk of crashes,” Stone said. “We hope motorists will recognize that farm equipment moves slower and needs plenty of room to maneuver.”

Motorists can do their part by using their surroundings as a clue that slow-moving equipment could be on the road and by slowing down when they spot farm equipment.

A tractor operator might not be able to see behind the equipment, so wait to pass until it is safe to do so and pass with caution. Watch for turns by the tractor or for signs that the driver may be slowing down to turn into a lane or field.

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