If you have driven on the roads of Georgia that are close to farmland, chances are you have encountered agricultural vehicles. For the most part, these are slow-moving vehicles (SMVs) with a speed limit of 20mph.
There are several issues that motorists may not be aware of when driving around SMVs. Unfortunately, statistics show that accidents involving these vehicles and other motorists steadily increased from 2013-2018. The differential in speed could account for many of these accidents.
If you consider a vehicle traveling at 60mph while farm equipment travels at 20mph on the road ahead, the difference in speed becomes a potential problem. Within 6.5 seconds, the faster vehicle can close 400-feet. Unless the driver reduces speed, the risk of a crash occurring is high.
Ideally, slow-moving vehicles would remain on farms and construction sites. But unfortunately, these vehicles sometimes need to use Georgia roads to transport animals, produce, heavy machinery, etc. Therefore, these vehicles must display an SMV emblem to combat the risk of accidents.
There are also strict rules about how an SMV emblem is displayed. The emblem must be mounted and visible to the rear. In addition, drivers following SMVs should observe an upward-facing reflective triangle.
The SMV emblem must be positioned by the law. A height of three to five feet above the roadway is required. It is also important to position the emblem as near the center as possible. Farmers, construction workers, and other drivers of SMVs can use retroreflective red-orange paint in the absence of a physical emblem.
One of the issues that often arises with an SMV emblem is visibility. Whether the driver is working in agriculture or completing road works, there is the potential for the emblem to become obscured. According to applicable legal codes, the SMV emblem must be clean at all times. If the emblem fades, it should be repainted or replaced.
Motorists should seek additional education on passing SMVs. Certain maneuvers do not adhere to the normal laws of the road. For instance, a large agricultural vehicle may pull over to the left side of the road. This may indicate that the vehicle needs to make a wide-left-hand turn. Do not attempt to pass in these incidents unless it is safe to do so.
For more information, visit the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. If you have been injured in an SMV accident in Georgia, reach out to Conley Griggs Partin, Attorneys at Law, for a consultation.
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