What to do when sharing the road with HORSES...

Written by Sandra Bain

You’re driving along and suddenly you notice a horse rider on the road up ahead, do you:

A: Honk at the rider to move off the road

B: Try to pat the horse on your way past

C: Assess the situation and take appropriate action to avoid or prevent risk to yourself and other road users.



The ANSWER is C: Assess the situation and take appropriate action to avoid or prevent risk to yourself and other road users. 


To avoid hitting an animal, you may safely stop or drive off onto the road shoulder, and only if you have a clear view of approaching traffic, you may safely drive to the right of a dividing line, a dividing strip, over a single continuous line, over two parallel continuous lines or over a painted island. 

**Any evasive action you take must be considered necessary and reasonable.**

Like any animal, horses can become jittery or easily scared by loud or sudden noises. When this occurs, the rider can signal the driver by raising a hand and pointing to the horse. 

**It is extremely important that you keep an eye out for these signals and take appropriate action to avoid further aggravating the horse.**


When a rider has given the signal that their horse has become unsettled, the driver must pull over and stop, put on their hazard lights, and possibly even turn off the engine. The driver must not move until the rider has given the all clear that the noise of the motor, or the movement of the vehicle, won’t distress the horse further, then they can proceed with caution, giving at least one meter distance between them to ensure everyone’s safety.

When passing by remember to NEVER honk your horn, rev your engine or pass the horse at a high speed. Horses can be unpredictable so slow down and give them plenty of room.



This meaning, the riders are subject to the same road rules that apply to other drivers. All riders must be below the 0.05 blood alcohol limit while on horseback so no horsing around on the roads! 


Road accidents involving horses on the roads are rare BUT they can happen. Recent reports show a lady in the UK broke her pelvis when a speeding car hit her horse. The horse sustained minor injuries but the rider, several weeks later, is still suffering from back and hip pain.

More information on this incident can be found here.

This sign lets drivers know that horses are commonly ridden along the road.

We pass by many different road users each and everyday, this includes pedestrians, cyclists, other motorists and HORSES!

We all have the same thing on our minds, get ourselves and our loved ones home safely. So share the roads, look out for one another, be respectful and kind! 

...and as for foal play, it’s a neigh from me.

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