As a driver in the Reading area, you might occasionally approach a vehicle that is not powered by an internal combustion engine. Instead, a horse is pulling the vehicle. Under Pennsylvania law, horse-drawn carriages have the right to use the road, so state drivers should understand how to deal with a horse-drawn vehicle while approaching one.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation explains that horse-drawn vehicles are slower-moving vehicles, defined as vehicles going less than 25 miles per hour. So as soon as you see one up ahead, you should slow down and permit the vehicle enough room as possible when you attempt to pass it. Also, you should only pass when conditions are safe enough to allow it.
Also, remember that horses can react in unpredictable ways. For this reason, you should refrain from actions that might frighten the horse. Do not sound your horn. Also, do not approach the horse or the carriage it pulls too quickly, and provide enough room between your automobile and the carriage. Let the horse feel that there is nothing to threaten or alarm it as you pass it by.
While you have responsibilities when sharing the road with a horse-drawn vehicle, remember that horse and buggy drivers have their responsibilities as well. The state Department of Transportation website explains that horse drivers should put lights on their vehicles, train their horses to halt at stop signs and signal before making a traffic turn. If necessary, horse drivers should take their vehicles off the road so that faster traffic may pass.
Since sharing the road with a horse-drawn vehicle can be a delicate balancing act of responsibilities, you may need the help of a professional attorney in the event law enforcement charges you with a traffic violation involving a horse-drawn vehicle. There are many factors that can contribute to an incident on the road, not just actions taken by motor vehicle drivers, but by horse drivers as well.