SLC Sheriff Wells: State law prohibits orange triangles on mailboxes, near driveways

CANTON, NY — The St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Board and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office are reminding residents about the appropriate use of slow-moving vehicle signs. These emblems are the reflective orange triangles that are required on the rear of vehicles which move slower than 25 miles per hour. The SMV triangles are 14 by 16 inches, with a red reflective border. They are meant to convey to motorists that they should slow down and exercise due care near slow-moving vehicles such as farm, construction, maintenance equipment or animal-powered vehicles.

In recent years, many property owners have begun using these SMV triangles to mark mailboxes, driveways, and other stationary objects. This use defeats the purpose of the vehicle markers as a hazard warning for slow moving vehicles.

“Under the New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law, it is illegal to use Slow Moving Vehicle Triangles as driveway markers, or to place them on any other stationary object,” said St. Lawrence County Sheriff Kevin Wells. “We are reminding all property owners to remove the SMV emblems from these fixed objects and

The St. Lawrence County Traffic Safety Program and the Sheriff’s Office have received several complaints about individual property owners who are using the SMV triangles as driveway markers or on other fixed objects near the roadway.

The Sheriff’s Office will be issuing verbal reminders and possibly written notices and, if necessary, will initiate enforcement of this section of the Vehicle and Traffic law. It is expected that residents will cooperate with the spirit of the proper use of the SMV for slow moving vehicles or trailers, etc.

In rural areas such as St. Lawrence County, we are all likely to encounter Slow-Moving Vehicles of various types. Your Sheriff’s Office is also reminding drivers to share the road safely with these vehicles.

When encountering one on the roadway, the driver should:

— Slow down immediately when you see a vehicle or equipment with a SMV emblem in the road
— Increase following distance to create a safety cushion
— Be alert and watch for turns into fields or at intersections
— Drive courteously, don’t honk or rev your engine, especially near animals
— Pass with care only when it is safe and legal to do so. Don’t pass over double lines, or near a curve or hill
— Be aware that animal-powered vehicles may make unanticipated movements
— Remember SMV operators may have poor visibility due to loads and equipment in tow
— Be aware that equipment in tow may sway on the road

Let’s all be courteous and safe users of our roadways.

More information about the proper use of slow-moving vehicle signs can be found
on the New York State Governor’s Traffic Safety web site at