Is it legal to pass that farm vehicle?

Special to Wisconsin State Farmer
Passing farm equipment in a no-passing zone is illegal. Motorists should wait for a passing zone before attempting to go around slow moving vehicles.

As crops across Wisconsin head into the final stages of maturity, harvest will soon be around the corner, and with that an increase of farm vehicles and equipment traveling on local roads.

The Dodge County Sheriff's Department along with other state law enforcement agencies is reminding drivers of the importance of paying attention and using patience while sharing the road with the slow moving farm vehicles.

When coming upon a slow moving farm vehicle, drivers need to not only exercise caution when passing, but to know when it is legal to do so.  Before making the decision to pass, make sure it is safe to do so. Motorists are reminded that while in a no passing zone, it is illegal for drivers to pass even if the farm equipment is driving at a slow rate of speed.  Be patient and wait until the next passing zone to pass the farm vehicle.

Be alert for farm vehicles during the harvest season, especially when machinery is traveling between fields at all times of the day, especially at dawn and dusk hours as some may not be as visible during those hours, the sheriff's office said.

Drivers need to be aware of farm equipment making left turns.

Lastly, when passing farm vehicles consider the possibility of the farm vehicle turning left onto a roadway, driveway or even a field entrance.

What the law says

346.09: Limitations on overtaking on left or driving on left side of roadway


(a) Except as provided in par. (b), the operator of a vehicle shall not drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, either by signs or by a yellow unbroken line on the pavement on the right-hand side of and adjacent to the center line of the roadway, provided such signs or lines would be clearly visible to an ordinarily observant person.

(b) The operator of a vehicle may drive on the left side of the center of a roadway on any portion thereof which has been designated a no-passing zone, as described in par. (a), to overtake and pass, with care, any vehicle, except an implement of husbandry or agricultural commercial motor vehicle, traveling at a speed less than half of the applicable speed limit at the place of passing.