Hold your horses. How to pass horses safely on the road

Hold your horses. How to pass horses safely on the road

by Becky Harrison |
posted 13 August 2019

According to The British Horse Society, nearly two horses are killed on roads in the UK each week so IAM RoadSmart have come up with some important tips on how to pass horses safely while in your car.

When approaching a horse from behind:

  • Hold back and slow right down. The rider will often indicate whether it’s safe to approach and overtake so while observing the horse itself it’s also important to keep a look out for signals from the rider. They will know when best to go slow, stop or overtake. 
  • If you don’t receive a signal from the rider it’s best to assume that it isn’t safe to overtake. Ensure you keep your distance and stay at least 3 car lengths behind the horse.
  • Avoid any sudden movements and loud noises. The car engine or music can be enough to spook the animal. 
  • Two horses and riders could be to do with safety. Perhaps one of the animals is particularly nervous, or one of the riders is inexperienced. For this reason, it may not be possible for them to travel in single file. Please remember to give them some consideration. 
  • When it is safe to pass, remember to do so slowly and widely. Stick to 15mph or under and give the horse and rider plenty of space. Its recommended to give at least a car’s width. 
  • Always accelerate gently when passing the horse and moving away. 

When a horse is approaching on the opposite side of the road:

  • Slow down completely, or you may even need to stop to allow the horse to pass you safely.
  • Consider putting your hazard warning lights on for anyone that may be behind you.

Horse rider and IAM RoadSmart’s digital content executive Jaimi McIlravey said: “Please continue to be careful when driving close to horses. From personal experience, it’s not always a car that will spook a horse. You may be driving safely with enough gap between yourself and a horse and rider, however, something else may scare them, so be sure to stay alert.”


Becky Harrison
Becky Harrison

Becky is part of the marketing team here at Money4yourMotors. Becky oversees a wide range of marketing activities including social media and content creation.