Safety first: Farm Equipment on Public Roads

farm equipment on public roads

Farm equipment on public roads can create a severe safety hazard. It is important to understand the rules for safely sharing the road with farm equipment to prevent accidents. Farm equipment often travels at slow speeds, leading to dangerous situations when drivers attempt to pass or turn in front of them. This blog post will discuss the safe operation of farm equipment on public roads. Stay safe out there!

Driver’s Licenses

To operate a motor vehicle on public roads, drivers in the United States must be licensed. Obtaining a driver’s license varies from state to state but generally includes a written test, a road test, and a vision test. Once licensed, drivers must follow all traffic laws and regulations. 

Farm equipment is an exception to this rule. In many states, farmers can drive certain types of farm equipment on public roads without a driver’s license. This exception is typically limited to agricultural vehicles used for farming purposes and not for general transportation. 

While the rules surrounding driver’s licenses may vary from state to state, one thing is clear: all drivers must follow the laws and regulations to ensure the safety of themselves and others on the road.


Farm equipment on public roads must be lawfully equipped with certain lights. Federal and state statutes identify the specific types of lighting devices required or permitted and the hours when they must be used. The general rule is that slow-moving vehicles must display a slow-moving vehicle emblem, and farm tractors and self-propelled implements of husbandry must display a flashing amber warning light during daylight hours when operating on a highway. However, the slow-moving vehicle emblem may be replaced by a flashing amber warning light when the vehicle is operated from one-half hour before sunset to one-half hour after sunrise or at any time when visibility is impaired by weather, or smoke, fog, or other conditions. In addition, all farm equipment must be equipped with at least two tail lamps that emit a red light clearly visible from a distance of five hundred feet to the rear. When operated on a highway during the period from sunset to sunrise or at any other time when visibility is impaired by weather, smoke, fog, or other conditions, farm equipment must also be equipped with at least two red reflectors mounted on the rear that is visible from all distances.

Safety Chains

Agricultural machinery is essential for farm work, but it can also be dangerous. One way to help reduce the risk of accidents is to use safety chains. These chains are designed to secure a piece of equipment to a stationary object, such as a tractor or fence post. This helps to prevent the equipment from becoming detached and potentially causing injury. Safety chains are particularly important for large pieces of machinery, such as combines and hay balers. However, they can also be used on smaller items, such as plows and harrows. By using safety chains, farmers can help protect themselves and others from needless accidents.

A slow-moving vehicle sign

In many parts of the country, it’s not uncommon to see farm equipment sharing the road with cars and trucks. While this can be a great way to save on transportation costs, it can also pose a safety hazard. Farm equipment is often much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, taking longer to stop. In addition, farm equipment is often not well-lit, making it difficult for drivers to see. As a result, drivers need to be cautious when approaching farm equipment on the road. One way to do this is to look for slow-moving vehicle signs. These signs are typically brightly colored and easy to spot, and they indicate that the vehicle ahead is moving slower than 25 miles per hour. When drivers see these signs, they should know to use extra caution and be prepared to stop if necessary. By following these simple tips, drivers can help keep themselves safe when sharing the road with farm equipment.

Don’t tow more implements than what’s allowed

When operating farm equipment on public roads, it’s important to stay within the legal weight limit for towable implements. Towing more than the allowed amount can put unnecessary strain on your vehicle and potentially damage the road. It can also lead to citations and fines from law enforcement. So before heading out, be sure to check the weight limit for your vehicle and make sure you’re not exceeding it. By following the law, you can help keep our roads safe and in sound condition.

The three-car rule

In many states, farm equipment can use on public roads as long as it obeys the three-car rule. This rule requires farm vehicles to stay in the right-hand lane and only use the left lane to pass when it is safe. Additionally, farm vehicles must yield to oncoming traffic when they turn left. By following these simple rules, farm vehicles can share the road safely with other motorists. In addition, farm vehicles should always use their turn signals when turning or changing lanes, and their headlights should be turned on. By following these basic safety guidelines, farm equipment can coexist peacefully with other vehicles on public roads.

Passing while turning while traveling rural roads

Many people who live in rural areas are used to seeing farm equipment on public roads. However, not everyone knows the rules for passing farm equipment safely. In general, you should always use caution when passing farm equipment. Slow down and be prepared to stop if necessary. When passing farm equipment, you should also be aware of any potential hazards, such as loose debris or farm animals that may be on the road.

If possible, avoid passing farm equipment when it is turning. This can be a particularly dangerous maneuver, as the farm equipment may swing into your lane unexpectedly. If you must pass while the farm equipment turns, use extreme caution and make sure you have plenty of room to do so.

Turning onto a rural road can be challenging, mainly if farm equipment is present. In this situation, it is best to slow down and use caution. Wait for the farm equipment to turn onto the road before passing. By following these simple guidelines, you can help ensure a safe and incident-free journey when traveling on rural roads.


Farm equipment on public roads can be a hazard if drivers don’t use caution. By following the three-car rule, using turn signals, and being aware of potential risks, drivers can help keep themselves safe. When passing farm equipment, always use caution and give yourself plenty of room. If you’re not sure about something, the best course of action is to always err on the side of caution. By following these simple tips, you can help make our roads safe for everyone.

Do you have any other tips for safely sharing the road with farm equipment? Let us know! Also, check out our blog post section for more exciting agriculture content.

Happy driving!

Related: UK plans to ease truck driver rules to address the shortage