Road safety and slow moving vehicles

As the spring planting season approaches, drivers are reminded to be patient on the road when travelling behind slow moving vehicles.

Farm vehicles, such as combines, tractors with planters and tillage equipment, are longer and wider than cars.

It can be hazardous to suddenly come upon a slow moving vehicle on the road. According to Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting (CAIR) (formerly the Canadian Agricultural Injury Surveillance Program (CAISP)), traffic collisions are one of the top five causes of agricultural fatalities inCanada.

Some farm vehicles are long and wide and may turn at places that are not well marked, such as field entrances. Farm vehicles can be difficult to pass and may not travel very far along the road. 

These vehicles are marked with a slow-moving vehicle sign, a reflective orange triangle bordered with red.  Watch for these signs. When you encounter slow moving vehicles, follow these steps.

  • Be extra cautious.
  • Slow down, stay well back and assess the situation.
  • Look ahead to see if there are farm lanes or other places where the equipment might be heading. Watch for signals on the equipment or other flashing lights that might indicate what action the operator is planning to take.  In some cases, operators might be using hand signals, e.g., have their arm out, indicating a turn.
  • Be patient. Remember to watch the driver of the vehicle to make sure he or she is aware of your intentions.  Don’t get upset with the operator if you don’t get an immediate response. Perhaps soft shoulders or other obstructions are making it difficult to move over right away.  According to CAIR, equipment rolling over is the number one cause of agriculture fatalities.  This can happen when a farm vehicle gets too close to a ditch while driving on a soft shoulder.
  • Before you pass a slow-moving vehicle, check your rear view mirror for other approaching vehicles. You are already driving slowly and don’t want to be hit from behind by another motorist who is going faster, with the intention of passing everyone.  Only pass when you are sure it is safe to do so and the way is clear. 

Halton Region is home to an active and vibrant farming industry.  Let’s work together to keep our roads and our community safe for everyone.

To learn more about road safety, please contact Halton Region by dialing 311 or 905-825-6000, toll free 1-866-442-5866, TTY 905-827-9833 or visit us online at www.halton.ca/drivesafe.

If you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report”.