SMV and SIS signs on a tractor

Signage needed to operate tractors on roadways

As farmers prepare to spend long hours in the tractor seat, they should also ensure they have proper signage on their tractor.

Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Legal Education Leah Curtis said Farm Bureau offices have been receiving calls from members looking for signs. She offers some reminders to farmers:

All tractors should have a slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign on the back of the tractor. Make sure SMV signs are visible and are not faded to the point that visibility is reduced, especially at night. SMV signs can typically be purchased at any farm supply store.

If a farmer is driving what is commonly referred to as a “fast tractor,” or one which travels above 25 mph, a Speed Indicator Symbol (SIS) is also needed for operation on the roadway. The SIS should indicate what the highest rated speed for the tractor is and be placed near the SMV sign.

SIS signs can typically be purchased from implement dealers. In addition to an SIS sign, if a farmer chooses to use the tractor above the 25 mph limit, they should also have with them at all times documentation which verifies the rated speed of the tractor. Farmers who drive a fast tractor will need a valid driver’s license for operation on a public roadway.

Curtis said another important thing to consider is proper tractor lighting.

On the front, tractors should have at least one white light that is visible from at least 1,000 feet to the front. On the rear of the tractors, farmers have the choice of either two red lights with visibility of at least 1,000 feet to the rear, or one red light with 1,000 foot visibility and two red reflectors visible at all distances from 600 to 100 feet when illuminated by headlights.

Multi-wheeled tractors should also have amber flashing lights at their widest point. Multi-wheeled tractors manufactured after 2002 will have these lights factory installed. These wider tractors should also have amber reflectors at the extreme width facing the front, and red reflectors on the extreme widths facing to the rear.

Farmers with questions about proper tractor lighting should contact County extension educators.


OSU Extension SMV sign fact sheet

Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

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