Each year in the United States, about 30,000 accidents occur involving tractors and other farm machinery. Most accidents happen when an approaching motorist hits a farm vehicle from behind or when passing. And although only a small percentage of these accidents lead to a fatality, accidents involving a farm vehicle are about five times more likely to result in a fatality than other types. But there's a lot you can do to share the road safely.
How can I recognize farm vehicles?
Lighting and reflector locations on tractors, combines and other farm equipment are different from regular motor vehicles. One such reflector is the slow-moving vehicle (SMV) reflector. In Ohio, this means there is a vehicle ahead traveling at 25 mph or less.
How and when is it safe to pass farm equipment?
Just like any other vehicle on the road, it's only legal to pass when the road is clear and there is either a dotted yellow line on your side of the road or a dotted white line. And when passing, be extra cautious. Tractors and other farm equipment carry wide loads and tend to weave.
Farm equipment is so large and slow, how could anyone possibly rear-end a farm vehicle?
Consider this: if a car traveling 55 mph approaches a tractor moving in the same direction at 15 mph, the distance between the car and tractor is reduced by the length of a football field in just seconds. You should always begin to slow as soon as you see a farm vehicle. Because farm vehicles travel so slowly, you approach them much more quickly than you do other vehicles. A car traveling at 55 mph requires about 224 feet of total stopping distance. If you have to stop suddenly, you might not have time.