6 Tips for Sharing the Road with Farm Equipment

Mar 20, 2024 2 min read

If you live in or regularly visit a rural area, it’s likely that you’ve come across tractors and other farm equipment on the road. Getting stuck behind one can be frustrating at times, especially if you’re in a hurry, but in order to stay safe, it is important to stay patient and follow the rules of the road. These tips can help you learn how to safely share the road with farmers.

Tips for Encountering Farm Equipment on the Road

While it might feel like a major inconvenience to get stuck behind a slow-moving farm vehicle, try to keep in mind that the driver is simply doing their job — a job that’s vital to supplying us with the food and products we use every day. 

Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re driving among farm equipment on public roads.

1. Don’t Assume the Driver Can See or Hear You

Because of their size and noise level, the farm vehicle driver has limited visibility and may have trouble hearing car horns or other audible road warnings.

2. Be Aware of Signs and Signals

There are a variety of things to look out for when driving on rural roads. A reflective triangle and flashing hazard lights indicate a slow-moving vehicle (SMV), while oversize load signs or red flags let you know that the vehicle needs extra room to navigate. Keep an eye out for hand signals, too — farm equipment operators will often give a wave to let you know that you can pass them.

3. Be Aware of Pilot Vehicles

Sometimes an oversized load will be escorted by a second car or truck, known as a pilot vehicle. Allow them the same space and patience that you do the farm equipment.

4. Give Them Room

Most farm vehicles are much heavier than your average car, so they’ll need more braking distance. The farm vehicle — or any equipment it’s towing on the road — may also be wider than the lane they’re driving in and may require more space in order to navigate a turn.

5. Pass Cautiously

If you decide to pass the farm machinery, make sure you have ample room to do so. When you re-enter your lane in front of them, leave plenty of room behind you to allow the farm vehicle to stop if you need to slow down or brake suddenly. 

6. Practice Proper Driving Etiquette

Passing a farm vehicle at a high rate of speed is dangerous for you and the person operating the equipment. Try to pass the vehicle at a slower speed than you would if you were going around a standard car. As a general rule, you should slow down, remain visible and drive defensively when driving around farm vehicles. Practicing this kind of driving etiquette makes the road safer for all.

See How Your Safe Driving Can Pay Off

If you’re passing through a rural area and encounter a tractor or other equipment, take it slow and enjoy the drive. No matter where the road takes you, with Driveology from Farm Bureau, you can save on your auto insurance premium when you practice safe driving. Connect with a Farm Bureau agent today to learn more.

Want to learn more?

Contact a local FBFS agent or advisor for answers personalized to you.