A woman and her horse were killed in September when the horse she was riding was struck by a farmer who did not see them as he was rounding a curve; the horse and rider were hit from behind. Reports also indicated that another motorist had taken action to avoid hitting the woman and the horse earlier in the day. In another incident across the United States, a major interstate was the scene of a severe accident and backups in the early morning hours when cows wandered onto the freeway. One car hit one cow and another car stopped to investigate. A woman got out from her car. A semi-stopped to tell the woman to move out of the road. That semi was hit from behind by another semi and burst into flames, killing the woman who was in the road and the driver of one of the semi trucks. In other incidents, drivers of vehicles hit moose and deer who wander into neighborhood roads, or try to cross busy highways in a split second before the driver has any warning. One car hits an animal, others fall behind. Chain reactions are not uncommon when animals are involved. How do you prevent this, and what causes this to happen?
Sometimes riders and horses are forced to travel on a roadway given the routes to certain destinations, or find themselves having to encounter crossing a roadway when no other route is available. All animals are “flight” animals; that is, they will move away from any impending danger. This means that they do not think logically about which route to take, only the one that takes them away from the situation. Animals like horses are easily spooked by loud noises, honking cards, objects being thrown at them, and cars that backfire. If you have to transport an animal along a roadway, here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
- Always wear reflective clothing and put reflective straps or markings on the horse or other animal.
- Make sure you stay off the shoulder of the road when possible.
- Stay off of lawns and private property where owners may become upset.
- Dismount from the horse and walk, if necessary.
A fall from a horse can cause a severe head injury or other trauma, especially if the horse is spooked and the rider is thrown forward head-on, or backward onto pavement. A horse can step over someone and crush what’s in its path, or rear up on its hind legs and land on the rider or someone else.
If you have been involved in an accident related to a horse and vehicle, you may have personal injury lawsuit on your hands if a driver intentionally provoked or hit you and your animal. Enlist the advice of a New York attorney who can assist you with your personal injury case.