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Spike: Motorists Be Alert for Slow Moving Vehicles During Harvest


The fall season is a busy time for agriculture workers and the need for motorist to be aware of slow moving vehicles (SMV) on rural roadways due to harvest season with agriculture equipment going from farm to farm, and field to field.

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike says visibility is the key to safety on rural roadways. These vehicles that generally travel less than 25 mph must display the SMV orange/red triangle just like with a horse and buggy. A motorist must be aware to keep alert and slow down when encountering a slow moving vehicle (SMV).  Drivers should remember that farm vehicle operators have limited visibility to the rear. Anyone passing such agriculture equipment needs to use extreme caution.

“Ninety percent of our collisions with SMV’s are rear end collisions, and not the fault of the SMV operator,” said Sheriff Spike. “Distracted driving and speed differences makes closure times in just seconds.”

Motorist need to recognize this symbol. Farm equipment may be wider and larger due to harvest that may include combines, tractors, gran wagons and large trucks.

Spike offers safety tips to motorists in the Finger Lakes Region encountering a slow moving vehicle on the roadway:

  • Slow down by reducing speeds immediately;
  • Increase your following distance to create a safety zone;
  • Distracted driving is a major concern on rural roadways;
  • Be alert and watch for turns;
  • Have patience as the machinery operator will let you pass when there is room to get off the roadway;
  • Pass with care, and only when it is safe and legal to do so;
  • Be aware that SMV operators may have poor visibility due to loads or equipment being towed;
  • Be aware that equipment in tow may sway.

“Awareness of these SMV agriculture type vehicles by reducing your speed using caution when encountering will give safety to all when sharing the roadway,” said Sheriff Spike.

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