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Tractors - Road Operation

What should you do when driving a farm tractor on a road?

  • Choose routes with care. Avoid busy routes. Avoid routes with narrow roads and restricted distance visibility.
  • Use an escort vehicle if you must travel busy routes or if you have obscured visibility.
  • Lock brake pedals together for even operation.
  • Obey all traffic laws.
  • Adjust travel speed to road conditions and towed equipment.
  • Occupy the entire traffic lane. Do not straddle one-half of the lane and the shoulder--it confuses other drivers.
  • Slow down and pull over to let traffic pass if safe to do so. Choose a level location with good visibility in both directions.
  • Use the throttle rather than the brakes to slow down if towing one or more pieces of machinery on a highway to avoid jack-knifing equipment.
  • Descend a hill in the same gear you would use to ascend when carrying a load.
  • Stay off the roads after dark unless necessary and then only when equipment is properly lit (white light(s) in front; red light at rear).
  • Always signal your plan to slow, stop or turn.
  • Use hand signals if your tractor does not have signal lights.
  • Equip your vehicle with signals if load or equipment does not allow other drivers to see hand signals.
  • Ensure that there is enough room to maneuver safely before entering or crossing a road, or turning across a lane.
  • Keep signs and lights clean.
  • Ensure that tractor and towed equipment are equipped with SMV (Slow-Moving Vehicle) signs and be sure it is clearly visible.
Positioning of Slow-Moving Vehicle Sign
  • Replace faded or damaged Slow-Moving Vehicle signs.
  • Indicate size of equipment with flags during the day and with lights at night.

What should you avoid doing?

  • Do not allow riders on tractor or towed equipment.
  • Do not take equipment out of gear to "freewheel" downhill. The resulting speed could cause severe steering and braking problems. Tractors are not designed for downshifting gears while moving.
  • Do not drive on the shoulder of the road.
Do not drive on the shoulder of the road

Document last updated on March 6, 2002
Document confirmed current on August 2, 2012

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Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.