Farm Safety Association, Inc.

 What is a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign?

A slow moving vehicle sign is a reflective orange triangle bordered with red that warns other road users that the vehicle displaying the sign is traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic.

New usage of the SMV sign.


Prior to December 1996, only farm tractors and self propelled farm machines had to use the SMV sign. As of December 1, 1996, all vehicles that can not keep up a speed of more than 40 km/h, for example, horse-drawn carriages and road construction equipment, must display the SMV sign. If a slow moving vehicle is pulling another behind it then the SMV sign must hang on the rearmost vehicle of any combination of vehicles. It must be centered between 2 meters and 0.5 meters above the roadway.

Bicycles, mopeds and disabled vehicles being towed do not have to display the sign. Horse-drawn vehicles driven by people whose religious beliefs do not permit them to use the sign are also exempt. However, the back of the carriage must be outlined with reflective tape that is visible from at least 150 meters

The vehicle is slow moving, not the mailbox!

The SMV sign is for vehicles only. The use of a slow moving vehicle sign on a fixed object such as a roadside mailbox or as a driveway marker, is prohibited if it can be seen from the road. Slow moving vehicle signs attached to mailboxes or posts must be removed. Use reflectors or reflective tape instead. Municipalities can still post caution signs to warn motorists that slow moving vehicles often travel on their roads.

It's the law!


The revised rules for the use of the SMV sign came into effect in Ontario on December 1, 1996. You may be fined for not using the sign or for misusing it.

What if you see a slow moving vehicle?

It can be hazardous to suddenly come upon a slow moving vehicle on the road. If it is a horse-drawn carriage, the horse may be startled when a motor vehicle approaches and passes. Some vehicles are longer and wider and turn at places that are not well marked such as field entrances. The orange and red triangle is a signal to all drivers to slow down and be cautious. When you see it, reduce your speed and stay well back. Only pass when it is safe to do so.

Where do you get a slow moving vehicle sign?

These signs are available at may retail outlets including hardware stores and farm co-ops. You can also purchase reflectors and other reflective materials at these stores.


For more information, please contact:

Ministry of Transportation - MTO INFO
1-800-268-4686

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
1-888-466-2372

45K p.r. 96.11

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Reviewed for NASD: 04/2002