Sheriff warns: Fall harvest season means slow moving vehicles on roadways

Yates County Sheriff's Office
As the fall harvest season begins, be alert for the orange SMV triangle on the back of farm vehicles and buggies.

YATES COUNTY – “Fall is my favorite season and many motorists enjoy seeing the vistas and the foliage on our trees,” said Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike, “It is also harvest time, and you are likely to see farm equipment on our roadways that move slowly from farm to farm or field to field.”

Yates County Sheriff Ron Spike

Just like with horse & buggies and bicycles, motorists must be aware, keep alert, and slow down when encountering slow moving vehicles (SMVs).

“Ninety percent of our collisions with SMVs are rear end collisions, and not the fault of the SMV operator,” said the Sheriff. “Distracted driving and speed differences makes closure times in just seconds. All motor vehicle operators need to be alert for the SMV displaying the orange triangle that must be on the rear of all vehicles that travel less than 25 mph.”

Each piece of agricultural equipment, whether self-propelled or used in combination, shall separately display a SMV triangle emblem. Motorists need to recognize this symbol. Farm equipment may be wider and larger due to harvest that may include combines, tractors, grain wagons, and large trucks.

Sheriff Spike's spiral-bound driver's safety handbook, "Slow Moving Vehicles: Guide to Sharing the Road" is available at the front of The Chronicle-Express at 138 Main St. in Penn Yan.

Spike offers safety tips to motorists in the Finger Lakes Region encountering a slow moving vehicle on the roadway:

• Slow down by reducing speeds immediately

• Increase your following distance to create a safety zone

• Be alert and watch for turns

• Be patient. The machinery operator will let you pass when there is room to get the equipment off the road

• Pass with care, and only when it is safe and legal to do so

• Be aware that horse-drawn vehicles may make unanticipated movements or turns into driveways

• Use caution when encountering a horse-drawn vehicle from opposite direction

• Avoid blowing the horn, as may frighten the animal

• Be aware that SMV operators may have poor visibility due to loads or equipment being towed

• Be aware that equipment in tow may sway in the lanes of traffic.

“Awareness of these SMV type vehicles by reducing your speed and using caution when encountering will give safety to all when sharing the roadway with them,” said the Sheriff.