When driving past a horse and rider, always do so slowly and give a wide berth.
Accidents involving horses
The UK has around three million horse riders, many of whom ride on the road often to get to bridleways and other off-road facilities.
The British Horse Society estimates that there are around 3,000 accidents involving horses each year, half of which happen on minor roads.
Advice for drivers when encountering horses
- Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary.
- Look out for riders’ signals to slow down or stop.
- Watch out for sudden movements as horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable.
- Don’t sound your horn or rev your engine.
- Pass with a wide berth and slow when overtaking giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate too quickly once you have passed.
- On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will generally indicate right only when approaching exits they don’t intend to use.
- Motorists should be aware that when turning right riders will not move to the centre of the road, but stay on the left until they reach the point where they intend to turn.
- Drivers should watch out for horses on the road especially when approaching bends and on narrow rural roads.
Never try to pass a horse on the road like this!
The driver in this video has no respect for horse and rider and is likely to cause an accident, always wait until you have a clear road to pass with total safety in mind.
Drivers: be respectful to horse and rider
Drivers need to behave courteously towards riders and horses at all times. A large number of riders are children who are less experienced as both road users and horse riders. Horses themselves may also be inexperienced and nervous of traffic.
Although horses are powerful creatures, they can be easily frightened and are liable to panic – particularly when close to traffic. An accident between a car and horse can cause considerable damage to the vehicle and its occupants as well, as the horse and rider.