Horses : THINK! : Roadsafety


Pass horses wide and slow

Horses are large powerful animals but they can easily panic and bolt if startled. The consequences to drivers, their car, the horse and its rider can be horrendous. By following some basic advice, drivers and riders can help avoid accidents involving horses on the road.

The facts

  • 11 horse riders were killed and 116 seriously injured in collisions with motor vehicles, in the five years to 2015.
  • Horses can weigh more than half a tonne – they are easily scared by noise and may panic around fast-moving vehicles.


THINK! Advice

Advice for motorists

  • Slow down and be ready to stop if necessary
  • Look out for riders' signals to slow down or stop
  • Watch out for sudden movements, horses can be easily frightened and unpredictable
  • Don't sound your horn or rev your engine
  • Pass wide and slow when overtaking; giving the horse plenty of room. Don’t accelerate rapidly once you have passed them.
  • On roundabouts, horse riders will keep to the left within the roundabout until reaching their exit, when they will signal left. They will normally signal right only when approaching exits they don't intend to use

Advice for horse riders

  • Always display fluorescent/reflective clothing on both horse and rider whatever the weather or light conditions
  • If at all avoidable, don't ride in failing light, fog or darkness. Avoid icy or snowy roads
  • If riding a horse that is not used to roads, ask a rider with a horse who is experienced and calm to accompany you
  • Never take a mounted group of more than eight horses on the road
  • If riding two abreast, move into single file as soon as it is safe for the motorist to overtake. Don't ride more than two abreast on the road
  • Always cross major crossings in a group, rather than trickling across one by one
  • Leave details of your intended route and estimated time of return with a responsible person
watch Horse Sense video

WATCH: The British Horse Society and THINK!’s co-produced video showing how to pass horses safely.

More from THINK!

Country roads Speed

Related sites

The British Horse Society’s Dead Slow campaign provides advice on how to drive pass horses safely.

The British Horse Society

The British Horse Society's horse accident website encourages riders to log road accidents involving horses.

Report an accident
THINK! Education

THINK! Road Safety Resources

A range of THINK! road safety materials is available for the public, for schools and other groups, and for road safety professionals.