Proper Road Etiquette in Amish Country

If you’re a native of Lancaster County, then sharing the road with the Amish is likely something of your everyday life. Did you know though that there is proper etiquette when traveling the area and passing an Amish Buggy? Here are a few tips you should keep in mind while traveling the back roads of Lancaster, PA.

1. Approach and pass slowly

First and foremost, make sure to pass an Amish Buggy when there is no oncoming traffic. Horses can easily be spooked, so it’s best to pass slowly, allowing for 20 feet of clearance before you travel back into the lane ahead of the buggy.

2. Absolutely no horns!

As mentioned above, horses can easily be spooked, especially by loud noises. Once a horse has been spooked, its behavior can be unpredictable to those passing by.

3. Be Gracious with Space!

When traveling behind a buggy, it is best to not follow too closely. It’s also generous to allow plenty of space between you and the buggy when stopping. Keep in mind that the “engine” operating the buggy is an animal, so it can be somewhat unpredictable or inconsistent.

4. Observe their driving habits

Horse and buggies will often travel close to the right-hand side of the road, but will move toward the center when preparing to make a left-hand turn. By law, Horse-drawn buggies are required to have 4-way flashers, 2 in the front and 2 in the back. However, they are not required to have turn signals. Pay close attention to their driving habits in order to maintain safety for both you and the carriage operator(s).

5. Be extra cautious at night

By law, horse-drawn buggies are required to have reflective material on each of the 4 sides, as well as lights and an orange hazard flag or sign. However, horses at night can be hard to see, along with the dark figure they might be pulling behind them. Use extra caution when traveling at night to avoid an accident with a horse-drawn buggy.

If you have questions about road-way etiquette or the laws surrounding horse-drawn buggies, we suggest visiting Pennslyvania’s Department of Transportation Website or by contacting your local PennDot facility.

For more on Amish Traditions and Culture, visit Discover Lancaster!

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