Safety Means SMV (Slow Moving Vehicle)

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(Part of Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training)


To know the proper use of the Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) sign.

Trainer's Note:

By law, farming equipment must display a Slow Moving Vehicle sign (SMV) when moving on roadways at less than 25 miles per hours. Point out the advantages of using the SMV. Demonstrate how to attach the sign correctly. Compare SMV signs in good repair with unacceptable damaged or faded signs.


SMV signs are required by law on farm machinery and equipment traveling on roadways at speeds of 25 m.p.h. or less and must be visible for at least 500 feet to the rear. In Ohio, approved SMV signs have a front label identifying the manufacturer and documenting that the sign meets the American Society of Agricultural Engineers' (ASAE) standards for durability and longevity.

Properly mounted, the sign is centered, two to six feet above the ground, pointed up and in a place perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Slow Moving Vehicle Sign (SMV)

Traffic studies show that two out of three highway accidents involving slow moving vehicles are rear end collisions and that ninety percent of these accidents happen during daylight hours. The use of the SMV sign reduces accidents and saves lives. Signs in poor condition provide little or no protection in traffic. Keep the sign clean for maximum visibility. Replace damaged or faded signs immediately. A faded sign will not be visible for the required 500 feet. When this occurs, the tractor or farm machinery and the operator's life are in danger and the law is violated. To extend the life of the SMV, always cover or keep the sign out of the sun when not using the piece of machinery.

The bright, fluorescent orange triangle of the SMV sign is visible for more than 1,000 feet (one-fifth mile) providing motorists ample time to slow down. At night the reflective red border of the SMV sign is illuminated by approaching headlights, immediately identifying a slow moving vehicle.

Review the Following Points

  • Keep the sign clean to enhance visibility.
  • Replace faded or damaged signs.
  • Mount the sign, point up, between two and six feet above the ground.
  • Place the sign close to the center of the equipment.
  • Ohio law defines a slow moving vehicle as traveling at speeds of 25 m.p.h. or less.
Safety Means SMV (Slow Moving Vehicle) Quiz

True or False

1. Ohio law requires the use of the SMV sign on farm machinery and equipment operating on streets and highways at speeds of 25 m.p.h. or less.
2. The sign must be firmly mounted, point up.
3. A faded sign has limited daytime visibility.
4. An SMV sign must be visible for 500 feet.
5. When used as specified, the SMV sign can reduce accidents and save lives.

Answer Key
1. T, 2. T, 3. T, 4. T, 5. T

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