We have all been there before.  We are in a hurry.  We didn't leave the house in time.  You finally get on the road, only to end up behind some farm equipment.

Can you just pass them?

The answer is, that it depends on where you are on the road.  Just like any other vehicle, you may only pass a slow-moving vehicle in a passing zone AND if you can do it safely.  If you cannot see around that vehicle to know if there is oncoming traffic, you should not attempt to pass them.  A slow-moving vehicle is defined as a vehicle that operates at less than 40 miles per hour. You'll be able to recognize them because they should have what they call a "Speed Identification Symbol" (SIS) and the “slow-moving vehicle triangle” displayed on the back of the vehicle.

If you are in a no-passing zone (double yellow lines) you have to wait.

Yup...even if you are in a hurry, you have to wait.  The rules of the road still apply.  It's incredibly dangerous for you and the farmer if you decide to try to buzz around them.

"It’s critical that drivers be on the lookout for slow-moving vehicles, especially as farm activity increases this time of year. Tractors and farm equipment cannot easily maneuver out of the way of traffic or speed up like other vehicles. So, we urge everyone to be aware and look out for the safety of our farmers.” - Richard A. Ball, State Agriculture Commissioner 

According to the DMV, if you approach a slow-moving vehicle, you should:

  • Slow down immediately
  • Increase following distance to create a safety cushion
  • Be alert and watch for unexpected turns
  • Pass with care only when it is safe and legal to do so
  • Be aware that animal-powered vehicles may make unanticipated movements
  • Be aware that equipment in tow may sway on the road
  • Remember slow-moving vehicle operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow

Chances are, that vehicle isn't traveling far.  Give yourself enough time when you leve your house and give them the space they need to do their job and everyone will arrive where they need to be safely.

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