Find the SMV Sign
The orange triangular Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) sign warns drivers of a vehicle traveling under 25 mph. It is not simply a reflector, it is a warning to slow down. These signs are for the exclusive use of SMV vehicles. It is unlawful to use the signs for marking driveways or any other purpose.
When you see a SMV, slow down immediately and increase following distance. Note that SMVs operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow, so remain visible. Towed equipment may also sway.
Pass with Care
Keep to the basics: Pass only if you can see clear road ahead of both you and the SMV. Don’t pass in a designated “No Passing Zone” or within 100 feet of any intersection, railroad crossing or tunnel, or if there are curves or hills ahead that may block your view.
Look for Driveways
Is a driveway coming up? The buggy may be ready to make a left turn into the driveway. Are you driving by a field? The farmer may be ready to turn in. Many SMV’s pulling machinery often move to the right just before they make a left turn. Check to see if the SMV’s turn signal is on or if the vehicle slows down before you consider passing.
Expect Wide Footprint
Many SMV’s are naturally wide, particularly tractor equipment and combines. If the vehicle is extra-wide, wait to pass until the driver pulls over and signals that it’s safe. Look for upcoming railways or mailboxes and know the SMV may swing wide, sometimes even into the adjacent lane, to avoid obstacles.
It Just Doesn’t Fit
Machinery may look high off the ground, but there just isn’t room for a car to drive underneath it. Ever.
Remember – Safety First
Find the Sign
Vehicles with a maximum speed of 25 mph are required to post a SMV sign on the back of the vehicle. At night, the reflective red border of the SMV sign is visible.
Rear-end collisions are the number one cause of SMV accidents. If you are driving 55 mph and come upon a SMV moving at 25 mph, it only takes 8 seconds to close a gap the length of a football field.
Pass with Care
SMVs are typically large and hard to see around. Wait for a safe passing zone, watch for oncoming traffic, signal and return to the lane once the SMV is in your rear view mirror.