Tractors - Road Operation

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

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  • 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.
  • Raise all implements to their transport position and lock them in place.
  • 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(s) 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 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.
  • Check your operator manual as some tractors may freewheel in higher gears. Freewheeling can be dangerous when travelling downhill. Use a lower gear range.

What should you avoid doing?

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  • 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 partly on the shoulder and partly on the paved road.
Do not drive on the shoulder of the road

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2018-04-04