Good Driving Manners Could Save Your Life

by admin on March 30, 2016

British Horse Society’s video on good manners when driving past horses in the road.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Jimmergirl March 30, 2016 at 8:30 am

THANK YOU!!! I’ve heard of some U.S. counties/cities putting up similar PSAs. I don’t blame people for not knowing how to act around horses – most people have never been around one, and they can be quite intimidating. I do blame people for not using common sense (driving too close or fast) or just being straight a******* (honking their horn). Definitely have seen my fair share of them!

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o_gal March 30, 2016 at 9:16 am

I had to turn on the closed captioning because my PC here does not have speakers. The CC is awful, as in awfully amusing. It appears to have either been written by someone for whom English is not their primary language, or it’s just the speech-to-text translation without any editing.

So in the part where they go over that you need to slow down to 15 mph, with a big graphic 15 in a red bordered circle, the CC tells you that you should slow down to a “maximum speed of 50 miles per hour”.

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Dee March 30, 2016 at 11:23 am

That’s great advice but I do think it is not practical for riders to sometimes ask traffic to stop because their horse is jittery. These look like very quiet roads but I don’t know of any that quiet in our rural area, and horses are often on the road and traffic is never required to slow down significantly or stop. There would be road rage if horses and riders caused regular traffic jams and snarls. The policy is that anything that is on the road must be able to keep up with traffic or not impede it. I think that’s why most people do not ride on roads around here, and that works best.

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admin March 30, 2016 at 3:32 pm

The PSA is good but I do think that it is not practical to completely stop all traffic because your horse is having a meltdown. There is a reciprocal responsibility, in my opinion, to not take equines on public roads that are not trained to be desensitized to the sounds and closeness of road vehicles and possible problems. I say that as a person who owns two driving ponies, one who is not road safe and one that is. I’ve had people honk at me, rev engines, dogs run behind her, passed by large delivery trucks and nothing fazes her. Although my pony is safe on busy roads, I don’t trust that some idiot wouldn’t rear end me.

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lakey March 30, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I used to have a horse. In my experience, most people don’t ride horses on roads where there is enough traffic to cause a traffic jam. Your area must have much heavier traffic than where I used to ride. I personally think that riding a horse along a road with heavy traffic is dangerous, and I wouldn’t do it. The reason that a car would need to stop if a horse becomes jittery, is that the horse might dart in front of your moving car. If you saw a horse that was becoming out of control, it would be in your own best interest to stop.

“The policy is that anything that is on the road must be able to keep up with traffic or not impede it.”
That would mean that a lot of bicyclists wouldn’t be able to use the road.

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Calli Arcale April 1, 2016 at 11:20 am

“The policy is that anything that is on the road must be able to keep up with traffic or not impede it.”
That would mean that a lot of bicyclists wouldn’t be able to use the road.

It would also bar farm equipment. Dee, you say you are in a rural area. Do you not ever encounter tractors on the road?

There is an impression in the general public that the posted speed is the speed everyone is expected to drive. But it isn’t. It’s an upper limit only. Some roads, such as freeways, may have a posted minimum; bicycles, horses, scooters, etc are prohibited on those roads. But on all other roads, there is no minimum speed, and slower vehicles actually are permitted. If it’s annoying to have to wait for a slow horse, just picture driving behind farm equipment. It can be physically impossible to pass some of those due to their sheer size, and you can bet that during planting season, and again during harvest season, there are traffic jams on the highways behind farm equipment. 😉

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Aleko March 31, 2016 at 7:22 am

The video doesn’t actually say that riders may ask traffic to stop because their horse is jittery; it says they may do so because they have seen something you haven’t.

And any driver who sees a horse starting to baulk and rear as shown in the video and *doesn’t* stop until it is back under control, is, frankly, asking for a kicked-in windscreen or worse.

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Margo April 1, 2016 at 9:57 am

Here, roads are often narrow and there are lots of situations where you may have to slow down or stop – it’s fairly common if there is a pedestrian or cyclist, as it often isn’t safe to pass if there is traffic coming the other way, or were you are approaching a bend or hill. So a horse is just one more similar hazard to take into account.

I can’t think of any situations where a ruder has asked me, as a driver, to stop, but I can think of a few where I have stopped because it’s clear that a horse is jittery or a rider is having difficulties.

Most riders tend to ride at timed when traffic is lighter – I see lots of people riding along the lane outside my house, but never when I’m goijg to or from work, when traffic is busiest.

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Stephanie March 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

Anything that promotes any kind of road safety is fine by me. Just last night a driver ran a stop sign at a T intersection near my house and was hit by a pickup who couldn’t stop in time. If only everyone could see the 8 fire trucks, 2 ambulances, and helicopter that were necessary to get the driver out of the car and to the hospital.

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Lisa H. March 30, 2016 at 11:55 am

Too bad the people who need to see this wont. When I had my horse people would think it was funny to drive by and honk or yell out of the windows.

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Ashley March 30, 2016 at 1:11 pm

It makes me sad that such a video needs to exist.

And, it applies to so many types of situations as well. About a month ago, on a road I take to work every day, a young man was struck and killed by a car that didn’t move over or slow down when trying to pass him. In fact, he crossed the fog line. The man who was killed was off the road, several feet away from the fog line, putting gas in his car from a gas can when he was struck. Witnesses say there was no other traffic that would have prevented the vehicle that struck him from getting into the other lane to avoid an accident.

I wish this wasn’t a problem, but some people are SO impatient. Heck, just yesterday I was driving home from work, and up ahead I saw someone walking on the side of the road. There was oncoming traffic so I wasn’t able to move over, but I did slow down. I had plenty of room, didn’t brake suddenly, just took my foot of the gas, and GENTLY applied the brake. The guy behind me did NOT like this. He was far enough away initially that he could have done exactly what I did, and then we both would have been back up to speed easily after passing the pedestrian. But nooooo. He SPED UP, got within inches of my back bumper on purpose, started honking his horn, and in my rear view mirror I could see him FREAKING out.

I am CERTAIN that if wasn’t there, he would have made no effort at all to slow down or move over for this pedestrian.

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Michelle Young March 30, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Maybe he knew the pedestrian would be there, and had planned a “hit-and-run” murder (possibly in a stolen vehicle, to avert suspicion from himself) and you totally spoiled his carefully constructed murder plan? And now he’ll have to spend all sorts of time researching poisons, instead? The poor, put-upon fellow.

Seriously, WHY would anyone be so freaked out that you followed basic safety rules while driving on a public road? Some people are just plain scary.

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Ashley April 1, 2016 at 10:38 am

I have no idea what he was thinking. It slowed us down for a grand total of maybe ten seconds. If ten seconds of his life is SO important that he’s willing to risk his safety, my safety, and a pedestrian’s safety, then I hope to god he doesn’t drive often

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Ki April 20, 2016 at 6:23 am

Yeesh, some drivers just have no patience at all. The only time I’ve written to a company to complain was when I saw (and managed to remember the numberplate of) a taxi driver just slew off the road (no indicators) and through a little carpark, so he could skip a red light. He narrowly missed me, a cyclist and another car and I don’t think I’ve ever seen worse driving. Except maybe the foolish man who had a migraine and decided to drive home before the auras got “any worse”…! (I was being driven home after a driving lesson and he t-boned us, nearly coming through the passenger door and said that he “couldn’t see”. Then he tried to tell his insurers that I was driving and had hit him…)

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Aleko March 31, 2016 at 6:54 am

These people are a mystery to me. Till quite recently, Youngs’ brewery in South London, a very old family business, still made its local deliveries by horse-drawn dray – a stately Victorian battleship-on-cartwheels pulled by two vast, magnificent Shire horses, the whole equipage beautifully maintained, brasswork shining like gold and ribbons plaited into the horses’ manes. Even if you didn’t love horses, it was a historic spectacle that you’d pay an entrance fee to go and see, let alone slow down your car and wait for half a minute till you could pass it; it used to brighten my whole day.

But in 1997 Youngs announced that they could no longer continue this tradition – although it was still actually a cost-effective alternative to diesel lorries – as so many drivers who were being held up for a few seconds would honk and swear at the dray, and swerve their cars a few feet from the horses’ noses, and even worse – in one case, a motorist behind the dray which had halted to make a delivery removed one of the chocks holding the wheels of the dray and hit one of the horses on the rear with it. The understandably-spooked horses (whose driver was on the ground delivering barrels to a pub) bolted, and galloped unchecked for a mile through heavy traffic till they could be caught. You wouldn’t believe that anyone would do such a thing, for their own safety if nothing else, but apparently some will.

They still keep the horses, but now they only do parades, agricultural festivals and the like, and private hire. It’s so sad.

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Diane March 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm

I have family that live in Amish country in Ohio . They have to be very vigilant and watch for Amish buggies.

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JD March 31, 2016 at 8:43 am

Horses in our area are generally ridden on the grassed shoulders, not on the pavement, but I still slow down and wouldn’t dream of honking or yelling. However, I’ve never known of a rider to stop traffic. Perhaps, in this video, the riders could see that the person coming up behind them should wait because oncoming traffic was in the car’s path? I don’t know.
I had a friend who was killed when he hit a horse — it wasn’t his fault; the horse had escaped it’s pasture in early dawn and was rider-less — but even though my friend slammed on the brakes when he saw the horse, the horse was rolled over the top of his vehicle. The horse’s weight crushed down the roof of my friend’s vehicle and snapped my friend’s neck, killing him instantly and seriously injuring his passenger. It’s always best to practice all kinds of caution when seeing animals on the roadway or shoulders. Our biggest problem here is deer. A big deer can wipe out a car and it’s driver when it suddenly decides to leave the grassy shoulder and dart across a road in front of a car.

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