Two brown horses with "Don't Horse Around When Sharing the Road"

Can Horse Riders Legally Share the Roads with Vehicles?

Vehicle and Horse Safety Tips for Drivers

While many road trip destinations are to cities, many of us love visiting the countryside and breathe in the fresh air. Out in the country, we are more likely to see folks riding horses for either pleasure or training. If you are not familiar with seeing horses out on the road, there are some guidelines that you need to follow in order to keep yourself, the horse, and the rider safe.

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What Kinds of Traffic Laws Do Horse Riders and Handlers Follow?

In most states, horse riders and handlers of horse-drawn vehicles can use the roads and must adhere to all local traffic laws. The animal’s owner should still exercise caution and try to keep the road open for easy traffic flow.

Safest Ways to Share the Road with Horse Riders/Handlers

  • Equestrians riding on a paved roadNEVER honk your horn
  • Provide extra space between you and the horse (the preferred amount is the length of two cars)
  • Pass slowly and quietly only when it is safe to do so (the rider/handler may give you a signal)
  • Be patient—especially if the rider/handler is trying to maintain control of the horse
  • Always be cautious and remember that the behavior of the horse may change in a split second

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What Do I Do If I Meet a Frightened Horse While Driving?

Any well-trained horse can easily be spooked, and the most experienced rider/handler may have difficulty controlling the animal. Like most frightened animals, a horse may jump out on the road, which can cause a serious accident with oncoming traffic.

If you approach a horse that is frightened and the rider/handler is giving you a signal of distress (usually a raised hand), you MUST stop your vehicle and wait until the horse is under control and the rider/handler gives you the signal that you are okay to continue on your way.

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