A lot has changed in Virginia over the past few decades. The population has increased by about 1.5 million, and the economy is constantly expanding and diversifying. In spite of this, agriculture is still the Commonwealth’s single largest industry. So, what does that mean for Virginia drivers?
What rules apply to farm vehicles on Virginia roadways?
More drivers mean more traffic and more traffic means more chances for passenger vehicles to share Virginia roadways with farm vehicles, particularly in rural areas.
Accidents involving farming vehicles, such as a tractor, can result in severe injuries for the operator since they do not have the same protections and safety features as someone inside a standard passenger vehicle. Of course, anyone inside a passenger vehicle can also be seriously injured in a crash with farming equipment due to its extreme size and weight.
Part of being a safe and responsible driver includes watching out for farming equipment using the roadway, slowing down, maintaining a safe following distance, and waiting until you can safely pass.
The Virginia motor vehicle accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp have over four decades of experience in handling auto accidents. We know the most constructive methods of pursuing the financial recovery to which our injured clients are entitled. We operate on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your personal injury case. Call our Virginia Beach offices today to schedule your free case evaluation.
What Driving Laws Are Farm Vehicles Required to Follow?
Tractors and other farming equipment are allowed to use Virginia roads, but they are not allowed to be on the highway. They must have license plates that say Farm Use and any vehicle that cannot reach a speed of at least 25 miles per hour must have a bright orange triangle affixed to it, also known as a Slow-Moving Vehicle sign.
While drivers are far more likely to encounter farming vehicles during harvesting and planting seasons, they can come across one at any time. It is not uncommon for people who are new to the area to be confused as to why farming vehicles are on the road, but it is essential for any farmer who leases or owns unattached land.
Farming vehicles may only be on the road if they are fewer than 50 miles from the farm worker’s central operation. If a tractor is on the road, it must be for the purposes of farming, like transporting harvesters and sprayers to a field that is going to be planted or plowed. Regardless of who is operating a farming vehicle, the owner is legally liable for any injuries resulting from an accident.
Those who operate farming vehicles on the Commonwealth’s roadways must:
- Never use a farming vehicle to carry passengers
- Never transport oversized freight
- Always have their Farm Use or Slow-Moving vehicle signs on display
- Keep off of highways and interstates
- Follow all driving laws
- Lowboys and trailers must have the required permits
How Can I Ensure My Safety Around a Farm Vehicle?
Those who operate farm vehicles are entitled to use the roadways just like anyone else. If you encounter a farming vehicle on the roadway, you should:
- Decrease your speed
- Stay calm
- Do not cross the double line to pass
- Do not pass while going uphill or around a blind curve
- Have patience. Getting to your destination two minutes sooner is not worth anyone’s life
Were You Injured in an Accident Involving a Farm Vehicle?
Most injured crash victims are unaware of exactly how complex filing a personal injury lawsuit can be. In order to get sound legal advice and the financial compensation you deserve, you need to work with a reputable legal team.
Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp is a Virginia Beach personal injury law firm with more than forty years of experience. Our lawyers have the knowledge, resources, and skills that you need to see a successful outcome in your case. To schedule your free consultation, call us today at (833) 997-1774.