There are a wide variety of vehicles present on the Alabama streets and highways at any given time. From motorcycles to tractor trailers, these are all subject to traffic laws. However, motorists should be aware of the exceptions that apply to farm equipment such as tractors and combines, and the responsibilities that drivers have regarding these vehicles.
The Alabama Farmers Federation explains that people may identify a slow-moving vehicle as they approach it by the required orange and red reflective triangle it must have displayed prominently on its rear surface. This is an indication that the vehicle is not capable of speeds above 25 miles per hour. Even though they move so much slower than passenger vehicles, SMVs may be driven on the state’s highways when necessary.
Differences in speed and size may lead to severe collisions between farm equipment and passenger vehicles. The Alabama Department of Transportation warns that recognizing the triangular symbol should immediately trigger a braking response to prevent a motor vehicle crash. A driver needs approximately the length of three football fields to come to a stop behind an SMV when approaching at highway speeds.
Passing an SMV should be done with extreme caution. Motorists should not rely on a hand motion from the driver to indicate the coast is clear because another vehicle may turn onto the roadway ahead unseen and create a hazard. While drivers of SMVs are often conscious that a line of cars is forming behind them, it is often unsafe to pull to the side of the road to allow others to pass. All drivers should recognize the hazards and respect these large, slow vehicles as they travel on the Alabama roads.