SMV Operators

SMV operators are at a disadvantage traveling busy highways.

Though only 19 out of every 100 Americans live in rural areas, more than half of fatal roadway accidents take place in rural areas, according to the United States Department of Transportation.

Most crashes between slow moving vehicles (SMVs) and motor vehicles occur during daylight hours and in good weather, according to the Rural Road Safety Study conducted by the Maryland Soybean Board. SMV operators must use extreme caution when traveling on a public road.

SMV Hazards

Slow moving vehicles are no match for the general public’s high-speed travels. These situations can create hazards when operating SMVs on public roadways:

> Pulling slowly onto roads with long and heavy loads
> Slow travel speeds
> Left turns across traffic into narrow field lanes
> Swinging into the left lane to make a right turn
> Transporting wide machinery

Stand Out and Be Seen

Motorized vehicles that travel 25 mph or less must be clearly identified as SMVs using recognizable lighting and marking to decrease the risk of injury to themselves and the public. The American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) developed Standards for Lighting and Marking. New equipment manufactured in the U.S. will be equipped to meet these standards, but older or international equipment may need to be retrofit.

  • Headlights. Two white lights mounted at the same level.
  • Tail lamps. Two red lights mounted and facing toward the rear.
  • Hazard flashers. Two or more lamps with amber color to the front and red color to the rear.
  • Turn indicators. Two amber to the front and two red-colored lights to the rear mounted with flashers.
  • SMV emblem. One visible at 1,000 feet mounted to the rear and 2–10 feet above the ground.
  • Reflective markers. Two red reflectors (on rear outside corners) and two yellow reflectors (on the front outside corners) of the machine.
  • Conspicuity Material. Red retro-reflective and red-orange fluorescent color visible to mark the rear; yellow retro- reflective material to mark the front.

Drive on the Offensive

  • Time of day. Avoid the busy times of the day as possible. Slow moving vehicles on roads during early morning or late afternoon while people are hurrying to and from work creates traffic problems.
  • Courtesy. Try to be as watchful of others as possible. Let the high-speed traffic go first. Your best manners on the highway will be the first safe practice to follow.
  • Blind spots. There are locations that pose problems with visibility with large equipment. Use mirrors and backup cameras to increase your ability to see other vehicles while operating on the road.
  • Safe equipment. A walk-around inspection will identify damaged equipment, malfunctioning lights, or dusty SMV signs.

Remember to keep me clean, bright and reflective. If I break or fade in a couple years, replace me. I like looking good to keep you seen.