The Law of Slow Moving Vehicles

Spring is in the air. The wind is blowing like it always does in Eastern Idaho, and farmers and ranchers are moving tractors and farm equipment up and down the road. It is important that farmers and ranchers follow the law for safe driving of tractors and farm implements on the road.

Idaho law restricts slow-moving vehicles like tractors from using Idaho highways under certain conditions. For example, a slow moving vehicle may not be on the highway from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour prior to sunrise. In addition, a slow-moving vehicle may not operate on the highway in “such a manner as to obstruct the free movement of traffic.”

In addition, all slow moving vehicles, tractors, and farm implements are required to have affixed at the rear of the vehicle a slow moving vehicle emblem. (See emblem above). Farm equipment operated exclusively on non-highways are exempt from using the emblem, but it never hurts to attach the emblem to your tractor or your fertilizer spreader to warn off-highway motorists that you are driving a slow-moving vehicle. Rear-end collisions are the most common type of farm equipment vs. motor vehicle collisions.

While not as common in Eastern Idaho, horse-drawn vehicles and riders of horses or other animals are entitled to share the highway with other motor vehicles. Just like a tractor, a horse-drawn buggy or wagon should have a slow moving vehicle emblem attached on the rear, and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of any other motor vehicle.

As to whether it makes sense to ride your old mule down the highway, well that is another story.