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Ohio State University Extension


Safety Means Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV)

Agricultural Tailgate Safety Training for Operators and Supervisors
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Agricultural Safety and Health Program

Objective: To know the proper use of the Slow Moving Vehicle (SMV) emblem.

Trainer’s Note

By law, farming equipment must display an SMV emblem when moving on roadways at less than 25 mph. 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. Review the true or false quiz.


SMV signs are required by law on farm machinery and equipment and animal-drawn vehicle traveling on roadways at speeds of 25 mph 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 and Biological Engineers’ (ASABE) standards for durability and longevity.

Properly mounted, the sign is centered, 2 to 6 feet above the ground, pointed up, and in a place perpendicular to the direction of travel.

Slow Moving Vehicle Emblem (SMV)Slow moving vehicle emblem which is an orange triangle, with thick red borders on all sides.

Traffic studies show that two out of three highway incidents involving slow moving vehicles are rear-end collisions and that 90% of these accidents happen during daylight hours. The use of the SMV sign reduces incidents 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. Remove, cover, or turn SMV signs when tractors are transported on another vehicle. 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 of a 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 2 and 6 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 mph or less.

About These Modules

The Ag Tailgate Training Series was developed by members of the Agricultural Safety and Health Program in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. Revised by Dee Jepsen, State Agricultural Safety Leader, with editing assistance by Lisa Pfeifer and Cody McClain.

True or False Answer Key 

  1. T
  2. T
  3. T
  4. T
  5. T

Quiz: Safety Means SMV



True or False?    

1. Ohio law requires the use of the SMV emblem on farm machinery and equipment operating on streets and highways at speeds of 25 mph or less.

2. The emblem must be firmly mounted, point up.

3. A faded emblem has limited daytime visibility.

4. An SMV emblem must be visible for 500 feet.

5. When used as specified, the SMV emblem can reduce injuries and save lives.

Originally posted Sep 17, 2019.