Encountering a horse and rider when driving is a moment where danger can easily present itself. Often, there might not be as much advance warning as you would hope. To help drive safely in such situations, it can be useful to understand the possible behaviours of the animal (and rider); from this, it becomes easier to deal with the moment.
An extra brain in action
If you encountered someone walking by the side of the road, there are only two brains in action; both programmed to think much alike at such moments. Adding a horse complicates things; especially as horses are recognised to be flight animals – adept at taking themselves away from perceived danger.
Two dangers might present: firstly, if you are driving up quickly behind them, they hear danger but don’t see it. Secondly, they see a strange object (you in your car) heading towards them at speed from the opposite direction.
The horse’s options
You hope the animal has gained such trust in its rider that it will respect what that person now asks it to do. If not, the animal could choose to lash out, move suddenly across the path of your vehicle, or immediately bolt off in the opposite direction. As well as a danger to you and its rider, this situation could now adversely affect other road users.
Take a slow and silent approach
Reducing your speed substantially, and passing as wide of the animal and rider as possible, makes good sense. Avoid adding noise to the situation, either by sounding your horn (even as a warning) or revving your engine. The latter also applies as you move past and away from the animal; retain your slow speed discipline until you are well clear.
Accidents still happen
Of course, however careful you are as a driver, whether around horses or at other times, bad behaviour by others can see you become the innocent victim of an accident. Our Not My Fault team are ready to help, because under Australian Law, in these circumstances you are entitled to an accident replacement car if yours has to visit a repair shop. Keep our number with you at all times – it’s 1800699034 – and our experienced team are ready to help you deal with such a situation…