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Slow Moving Vehicle Sign - Frequently Asked Questions

Illustration of slow moving vehicle sign

Ontario's law on the use of slow moving vehicle signs was amended, effective September 1, 2003, to clarify and more appropriately identify the types of vehicles and trailers/implements that are required to display the "Slow Moving Vehicle" sign.

What is a slow moving vehicle sign?

A slow moving vehicle (SMV) sign is a reflective orange triangle with a red border that warns other road users that the vehicle displaying the sign is travelling at 40 km/h (25 mph) or less.

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When must the sign be displayed?

Farm tractors and self-propelled implements must display a sign on the rear. If one of these machines is towing one or more implement(s) of husbandry or other devices, the sign or an additional sign, must be displayed on the rear of the combination.

Any vehicle including, but not limited to, construction equipment, street sweepers, tow motors, fork lifts, etc., that are not capable of attaining and sustaining a speed greater than 40 km/h must also display a sign. If one of these machines is towing a trailer(s), implement(s) of husbandry or device(s), the sign or an additional sign, must be displayed on the rear of the combination.

When towing an implement(s) of husbandry (e.g., wagon, tillage equipment, a header wagon, etc.) with a motor vehicle, a sign is required on the rear of the combination and the combination travel at or under 40 km/h.

An off-road vehicle operated on a highway by a farmer for agricultural purposes requires a slow moving vehicle sign on the rear of the vehicle. In addition, any farm implement, trailer or device towed by an off-road vehicle must also display a slow moving vehicle sign. (Reference: Off-Road Vehicles Act)

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When is a sign not required on a slow moving vehicle?

When directly crossing a road.

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Where should the sign be mounted?

The sign must be placed on the rear of the vehicle so that it is between .6 metres(2 ft.) and 2 metres (6 ft.) above the roadway and where practicable at the centre of mass.

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Are some slow moving vehicles exempt?

Yes. Bicycles, mopeds and disabled vehicles being towed do not have to display the sign. Horse-drawn vehicles driven by people whose religious beliefs do not permit them to use the sign are also exempt; however, the back of the carriage must be outlined with reflective tape that is visible from at least 150 metres (approximately 500 ft.).

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When is a sign prohibited on a vehicle?

Only slow moving vehicles, vehicles towed by slow moving vehicles or implements of husbandry towed by motor vehicles are permitted to display a slow moving vehicle sign. A SMV sign is prohibited from being displayed on a vehicle travelling in excess of 40 km/h.

(Note: A farm tractor, combine, etc., on a float or trailer is considered a load, and it is recommended any visible SMV signage be covered or removed.)

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Are SMV signs prohibited on fixed objects?

The SMV sign is for vehicles only. The use of a SMV sign on a fixed object, such as a roadside mailbox or as a driveway marker, is prohibited if it can be seen from the road. Signs attached to mailboxes or posts must be removed. Property owners or tenants displaying SMV signs on fixed objects may be subject to a fine.

Municipalities can still post caution signs to warn motorists that slow moving vehicles often travel on their roads.

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What should you do if you see a slow moving vehicle?

Farm vehicles are allowed on the travelled portion of a highway. The orange and red triangle is a signal to all drivers to slow down and be cautious. When you see it, reduce your speed and stay well back. Only pass when it is safe to do so.

It can be hazardous to suddenly come upon a slow moving vehicle on the road. If it is a horse-drawn carriage, the horse may be startled when a motor vehicle approaches and passes.

Some farm vehicles are long and wide and may turn at places that are not well marked, such as field entrances.

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For complete reference, refer to the Highway Traffic Act (Section 76 and Regulation 616 - Slow Moving Vehicle Sign).

See also: Farm Vehicles and Equipment and The Highway Traffic Act