loading
loading

Driving Poorly Near a Horse Trailer Makes You a Jerk, Part 2: Risks and Considerations

“I do my best not to crush you. Please show my horses and me the same respect.” Mel Harms-Grossman continues her series on trailer safety with more tales and tips for sharing the road.

Trailers of the East Coast/Flickr/CC

Trailers of the East Coast/Flickr/CC

In Part 1 of this series, we started covering some of the potentially devastating consequences of unsafe driving near horse trailers. Monetary damage is one of the most notable on the list of damages, but what about the “less seen” effects of accidents or near-accidents? What can we do as drivers of these vehicles? What would you or I want all the other drivers to know about this issue?

Here are some situations we knowingly assume could occur or be possible when leaving our property of origin.

Inattentive Driving
This pertains to drivers around our vehicles as well as ourselves. Inattentive driving can include such factors as using the cell phone, applying makeup, shaving your face, talking with passengers or gawking at objects while driving any motor vehicle. Let’s face it, inattentive driving is very common. Especially in our current society of go, go, go, me first mentality. The bottom line is: take your time and pay attention for yourself and everyone else!
Increased Traffic
Volume of traffic makes a difference. The more vehicles on the road at one time, the more probable it is that accidents will occur. Think rush hour with backed up vehicles or slow flow of traffic. Nothing ticks people off faster than to have to wait for something or someone.
Poorly-Matched Driver/Vehicle Combinations
Oh boy, have I seen this over and over again! In my life as a horse trainer and as a driver, I can state that appropriate matches are needed between horse and rider as well as driver and vehicle. Many folks are not prepared to drive a vehicle of size, let alone a vehicle pulling a trailer. That goes for both equine and non-equine vehicle combinations. I see way too many drivers that have no idea how to maneuver or use appropriate braking with large vehicles or vehicle combinations.
Poor Driving Habits
The short list: tailgaters, those who fail to “read” traffic, line cutters, those who cannot pick a speed, those who box larger vehicles into a space, those with “space recognition” difficulties and those favorite folks who whip out in front of any vehicle with reckless abandon. These habits are all appalling to me because they are completely controllable and preventable with practice and/or education.
Equipment Failure
I’m sure this is addressed in drivers education classes, but equipment maintenance is IMPORTANT! My father was in the military in his younger years where he attained the rank of Sergeant, taught gun training and defensive driving and had diesel mechanic training. To say he is specific about vehicle maintenance is an understatement! The takeaway message here is that your vehicle does not have to be fancy, but should be free of mechanical defect to provide everyone the best outcome. At a minimum, lights that are not working, faulty brakes, bad transmissions, poor speed or steering control all lead to accidents.
Adverse Weather
Driving conditions never improve with adverse weather. So many drivers continue to speed down icy or rain-covered roadways. Adding speed to already slick conditions generates more accident potential. Now add the weight of a truck, trailer and animals to those conditions and you have higher accident rates. Understanding that it takes a loaded truck and trailer even longer to stop on poor roadways than normal can alleviate many accidents.
Final Thoughts
The roadways are shared by many. Those diving larger tow vehicles with a trailer need your consideration to keep themselves and their cargo safe. By the same token, you need our consideration in order not to get squashed. Please practice safe driving to support humans and animals in transit.
For over 10 years Melissa (Mel) Harms-Grossman has successfully trained horses for show at halter, reining, barrels, poles, ranch reining, trail, western pleasure and more recently ranch horse pleasure and western dressage. She enjoys starting colts, providing continuing education for started horses, finishing show horses & working to build confidence in trail horses. One of her most proud accomplishments is helping clients attain show goals of exhibiting at AQHA and FQHR World Shows. Mel trains horses at her own SunRunner Ranch in Buffalo, Minnesota.

Leave a Comment

comments

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *