Hazards of Being Amish

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It’s one thing to take a leisurely ride in a buggy on a rural road, that’s where most Amish live and play.  It’s another thing to see buggies navigating bumper to bumper traffic. There are risks to sharing the road with buggies in each type of conditions. On a rural road with “no other cars on it”, a car driver can have a tendency to be lulled into this “I’ve got the road to myself” attitude and just start motoring along at warp speed and by the time they crest a hill at 50 mph (on a road marked 35mph) and see a slow-moving buggy it’s too late.  Many tragic car-buggy crashes have resulted from that type of inattention.  On the other hand, bringing a buggy into a congested city setting can spook the horse with all the car commotion nearby and that can be just as deadly.  I’ve seen buggies increasingly navigating big city traffic (Lancaster, PA; New Haven, Indiana; South Bend, Indiana, etc) and this combination creates its own issues.

This photo shows a classic combination: a hulking yellow school bus, typical soccer Mom SUVs, a vintage 1950s Dodge, and a buggy all jockeying for position on congested Route 30 just outside of Lancaster, PA.  The Amish driver seems to be taking the traffic in stride. The best advice I can give if you find yourself bumper to bumper with a buggy is: don’t honk your horn for any reason if at all possible.  That’s the most often given advice to me when I talk to Amish buggy drivers about annoyances they have with cars are horn-honkers, the sharp, sudden noise can spook a horse and believe me you don’t want that in heavy traffic.

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The Discussion


  1. Yep. Even a horse that’s been carefully conditioned to work in traffic can have an off day and react badly to sudden noise.

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  2. Kentuckylady717 says:


    Seems to me all the vehicles and the buggy were way too close to each other……or is it just me ?????

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  3. Marilyn from NY says:


    I am glad you told me about not honking when passing a buggy. That is the first thing I would have done. Never thought that it would upset the horse. Now that you mention it-it makes sense.

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  4. Elizabeth Meyers says:


    I am a truck driver in Ohio, and I have had many experiences with the Amish north of Urbana, OH, east and west of state route 68. They try to stay out of everyone’s way, and they ride with their right set of tires off into the grass. What more can they do? You, it must be remembered, are in THEIR neighborhood. As Alan Jackson famously sang, “Might as well share. Might as well smile. Life goes on for a little bitty while.”

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  5. Susie MacDonald says:


    We frequent an Amish produce market a lot in the spring and summer. (Schmuckers by Milan Center in Indiana) My husband and I, both, will pass a horse and buggy very slowly so as not to scare the horse. And we don’t get too close behind them, either. Just have to use some common sense and a little courtesy of the road when coming upon a horse and buggy….especially with a family with a lot of children in the buggy, too.

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  6. Elizabeth Meyers says:


    I wanted to post this picture of all the traffic on my FB page to remind my office friends to slow down after work. How can I transfer it over? I’m not very good with computers. I have sent you hand-written cards in the past, Kevin. My FB page is Elizabeth Allen Meyers. Thank you.

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