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Q & A About Tractors and Traffic

If you live in a rural area you may have noticed that traffic seems to always gets a little slower around this time of year. Cars are lined up, dozens in a row, creeping along at 25 MPH, sometimes for miles. And without question we can guess what is at the helm of this line of vehicles. A tractor. For those of you not in the agriculture industry, just know, we don’t like it any more than you do, but such is farm life.


Why are there always tractors on the road this time of year!?


This time of year is haymaking season, as well as planting season, as well as manure spreading season. From May to July (maybe even September depending on weather. sorry) you can almost guarantee that everywhere you go, in a farming community, you’re gonna run into a John Deere, Kubota, International, or New Holland tractor on the road. And I can promise you, they wish they could be going faster too.


What is to be done about all of the tractors on the road this time of year?


Nothing really… If a tractor operator seems to be impeding the flow of traffic because he refuses to pull over to let vehicles pass in an able pull off area, that is the only time that it can be said he is “breaking the law”.

In some states such as Indiana, code states that “if you are driving a slow-moving vehicle and three or more vehicles get backed up behind you, it’s your duty to pull over at the next possible safe place and allow them to pass.”

But it is good to remember that just because your car is capable of pulling off in an area, does not mean that the tractor and it’s load would be able to pull of as well, as the size difference is tremendous.


What are age and license requirements of tractor operator on the roads?


Here in PA, it is legal for a child of 14 and 15 years of age to operate a vehicle on the road but… there are stipulations.

“Requirements for Operators of Implements of Husbandry (PVC § 1502)(5) – The driver of an implement of husbandry must be at least 14 years of age. Drivers 14 or 15 years old may only operate implements of husbandry on one or two lane roads that bisect or immediately adjoin the premises where the driver resides. Operators of implements of husbandry are not required to have a driver’s license.”

So if there is a child operating a vehicle on the road for long stretches of time, yes, it is illegal.

It is important to remember that a tractor operator is not out to slow down your daily commute on purpose. They know that they are slowing you down, and wish it could be different, but it is something that comes with the job.


If you see a tractor on the road, give the driver a wave as a thanks to providing for the community ;)

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