Farm To Market Roads and Country Road Etiquette

FM121 Sign - Van Alstyne, TX - Photo Keith LaursenMoving from the city? Wondering what a FM (Farm To Market) road is? Most people moving to the country don’t give that FM road sign a second thought. They rush along happy for once not to have traffic holding them up. They don’t understand that part of the pleasure of country living is a slower pace.  While it may be fun to put the hammer down, livestock, horseback riders, tractors and other farm equipment have the right of way.

When you come up behind a tractor don’t get road rage because you can’t pass immediately. Just sit back, listen to your favorite music and relax. Remember that you moved to the country for all the simple and basic things that make country life appealing.  Green Acres is the place to be!

It may seem outdated but FM roads are still used for the purpose of getting farm goods and equipment to and from the market. Texas is a free range state which means unless a local law has been passed to prevent it, livestock can legally be on a farm to market roadside or driven from one field to another.  Always consider the possibility of farm animals on any road with a FM designation.   Living in the country with FM roads means learning new road habits.

  Country Road Etiquette 101

Country people wave at each other on the back roads. It’s a hold over from when we were just happy to see another human.

On two lane roads, country people will move over if it’s safe to let you pass. This startles those who can’t believe others are being that nice.

Country folk take their time getting up the on ramp. Our cars ..ahem.. pick-ups have to last longer than those ultra low mileage leases city folk have.  We drive like our vehicles have to make it to the next census.

Don’t expect country folk to move over if you are merging onto a highway. While they are polite, it’s hard to move a trailer loaded with several thousand pounds of hay, cows or horses. Learn to look for trailers and how to properly merge!

Keep your distance when following farm equipment. That little orange triangle means sloooow moving vehicle. It’s not in your drivers handbook but the vehicle may need to swing wide to turn. It also means your air conditioner may inhale some interesting odors and you may need your wipers. Sometimes the cows in the trailer just can’t hold it anymore. Be smart – keep your distance!

Don’t tell the Van Alstyne Police but sometimes we roll through stop signs. It’s not that we don’t like to stop, it’s the grabby trailer brakes and the animals trying to balance in the back of the trailer.  Slow moving also means slow stopping.  Don’t pull out in front of someone hauling a trailer expecting that they will be able to stop.

Country folk slow way down when approaching or passing someone on horseback, buggy or wagon. Contrary to what you see in the movies, not everyone can ride like Roy Rogers and not every horse is like Trigger.  Horses spook at things quickly coming into their vision and weird noises. You are risking someones life or getting a new hood ornament if you speed by.  Please drive friendly.

Speeding up hills and around curves is the surest way possible to meet a big John Deere Tractor or Elsie the cow. You need to be aware of four-legged deer, skunks, possums, coyotes, chickens and other creatures that are crossing just to get to the other side.

Country people like the peaceful environment and sounds of nature. They are not impressed with 1000 watt sound systems and subwoofers that shake the ground like earthquakes. Let you music impress you, not the entire county.

Country people like animals but are not the SPCA for unwanted pets. Please do not drop unwanted pets beside the road unless you want a few skunks delivered to your doorstep back in the city.  Don’t think your pet will be better off having room to roam because it will probably be lunch for some higher food chain animal instead.

Strangely, city folks seem to think it’s OK to toss out the Burger Doodle wrappers, cigarettes and all manner of other junk along the road. Don’t mess with Texas.  We like it clean and fire free.

I hope these words of wisdom help you in your move to the Van Alstyne area.  If I can help you find the country home of your dreams or other Van Alstyne real estate, give me a call or look for me on a FM road somewhere in Grayson County.




About Keith Laursen

I am a Fathom Realty Realtor specializing in town and country properties in the cities of Van Alstyne, Anna, Melissa, Howe, Gunter, Tom Bean, Whitewright, McKinney and Plano, TX.

My trusty horse and I will help you "spot" the best in real estate. Remember, it can't sell if it's not spotted!
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