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Home » Yates County » Sheriff Spike: Motorists need to use caution during fall harvest season as farm equipment travels on local roads

Sheriff Spike: Motorists need to use caution during fall harvest season as farm equipment travels on local roads

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

With fall ushering in harvest season, there’s a substantial increase in the presence of slow-moving vehicles (SMV), such as agricultural equipment, on rural roads. These vehicles, which usually travel under 25 mph, move between farms and fields, necessitating heightened vigilance from other road users. To maintain safety, such vehicles are required to display an orange/red triangle, signaling motorists to slow down and proceed with caution due to the limited visibility of these vehicle operators to the rear.


Sheriff Ron Spike emphasized the heightened risk, noting, “Ninety percent of our collisions with SMVs are rear-end collisions,” attributing the majority of these to distracted driving and speed differences, which significantly reduce reaction times. He highlighted the importance of recognizing the SMV symbol, as farm equipment like combines, tractors, and large trucks could be wider and larger, and may also have equipment in tow which may sway or have reduced visibility due to loads.

To mitigate risks, motorists in the Finger Lakes Region are advised to slow down immediately upon spotting an SMV, maintain a safe following distance, and be particularly alert to turns and potential distractions. Passing should only be done when it’s safe and legal, and drivers should exhibit patience, as machinery operators will facilitate passing when conditions permit.

Sheriff Spike concluded, emphasizing mutual caution: “Awareness of these SMV agriculture type vehicles by reducing your speed and using caution when encountering will give safety to all when sharing the roadway.”