Motorists are being advised to be on the lookout for slow-moving agriculture vehicles which are more frequently seen on local roads at this time of year, as it is farm crop season.

Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol and several representatives of the AG industry visited Champion Farms in Clinton on Friday, urging local drivers about how to safely operate their motor vehicles while navigating farming tractors and other pieces of large equipment. The group is also reminding local farmers about their responsibilities when they bring their farm equipment onto the roadways.

When motorists encounter a slow-moving vehicle on the roadway they should:

  • Slow down immediately\
  • Increase following distance to create a safety cushion
  • Be alert and watch for unexpected turns
  • Pass with care only when it is safe and legal to do so
  • Be aware that animal-powered vehicles may make unanticipated movements
  • Be aware that equipment in tow may sway on the road
  • Remember slow-moving vehicle operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow

Meanwhile, farmers are reminded to post the 'slow-moving vehicle triangle' in the center, rear of the vehicle, approximately two to six feet above the roadway. The triangles should be kept and be replaced when the become faded. Additionally, ''each piece of agricultural equipment, whether self-propelled or used in combination, must separately display the required emblems. It is illegal to put slow-moving vehicle emblems on stationary objects – such as mailboxes or driveway posts,'' Maciol said.

State law allows for the use of self-propelled agricultural equipment to be used on roadways after dark, and when visibility is less than 1,000, per state law, officials noted. However, such vehicles must have two white headlamps, a red tail light on the rear as far left as possibly, and two amber lamps at least 42 inches high and visible from the front and rear, officials said.

Also, horse and buggy, or animal drawn vehicles must:

  • display on the rear either a slow-moving vehicle triangle or a lighted lantern with a red lens at least four inches in diameter, with the center of the lens to be 42 inches above the ground, the lantern to be near the left edge of the vehicle
  • The vehicle also should have 72 square inches of a high quality white or whitish-gray reflective tape

Among the officials at Friday's presser were NY Farm Bureau Deputy Director of Member Relations John Wagner, NYS Sheriff’s Association GTSC Law Enforcement Liaison Anthony D’Agostino, representatives from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County, and local farmers.

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