Safety Tips for Towing Farm Equipment

Transporting farm equipment over roadways is challenging under any condition. But if you tow any implement behind a motor vehicle, that challenge becomes very hazardous.

Many of the serious incidents that occur when moving farm equipment happen when implements are towed behind motor vehicles. No matter what the horsepower is or how your motor vehicle is equipped, you should never tow an implement unless it is equipped with a tow package. Here's why:

Braking Ability
Many vehicles have enough power to pull implements, but it's possible they don't have the overall weight or braking capacity to bring the implement to a controlled stop.

Turning, especially on gravel, demands that the towing vehicle be heavy enough to maintain control of the towed load. For example, a 5000-pound motor vehicle towing a 15,000-pound implement is an invitation to disaster. Loose gravel, potholes and sharp turns increase the risk.

Tire Capacity
Implements are equipped with specialized tires, which are not rated for highway speeds. Heat, shock loads and traction ability can lead to loss of control of the vehicle due to tire failure.

The implement's flashing warning lights, taillights and turn signals are wired to be compatible with a tractor's electrical system and are provided to enhance the implement's visibility. Most motor vehicles do not have a connector to power these lights. Towing on a public highway without implement lights and a SMV emblem can be hazard to other motorists.

In many states, towing an implement without lights or an SMV emblem is illegal. It also may subject the motor vehicle driver to stricter motor vehicle transportation laws and regulations, rather than rules for transporting agricultural equipment.

Under any circumstance, towing an agricultural implement with a motor vehicle is hazardous. Refer to the "Towing" section of your operator's manual.

The manual advises: "Never tow an implement behind anything but a properly sized and ballasted ag tractor, or a pickup that is equipped with a tow package and the appropriate DOT permit."

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