Residents advised to watch buggies on road

Published 2:24 pm Monday, October 1, 2018

Virginia State Police released an advisory Monday due to recent accidents involving buggies in the area on Sunday that left three severely injured, and an accident in July where an Amish buggy was rear-ended by a Chevrolet Impala on Route 20 near Route 631. The buggy’s two passengers, a mother and her 8-year-old son, suffered minor injuries.

“With the increase in Amish families moving into Buckingham County, there is a greater need for buggies and motor vehicles to safely and responsibly share the road together,” said 1st Sgt. E.K. King, Virginia State Police Area 19 Commander in the advisory. “An Amish buggy is to be treated like any other vehicle traveling on the road and should only be passed when it is safe and legal.”

Amish buggies are legal on Virginia highways and are more commonly found in Charlotte and Halifax counties, as well as up near Harrisonburg where there are large Mennonite communities.

Email newsletter signup

According to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Amish buggies travel at speeds of around five to eight miles per hour. The advisory cited that more than 65 percent of all traffic deaths involving buggy drivers and passengers occur in rural areas.

“ODOT also reminds motorists ‘that horses can be unpredictable and even the most road-safe horse can spook at a fast-moving vehicle.’”

“The horse-drawn buggy, which is solid black, is especially difficult to see at night,” the release cited. “According to the Virginia Driver’s Manual, a horse-drawn vehicle must display on the back of it a ‘Slow Moving Vehicle’ triangular placard when in use on public highways. When approaching a buggy, the DMV manual advises a motor-vehicle driver to ‘be prepared to adjust your speed or position when you see a vehicle with one of these signs.’”