Drivers compete to be the slowest – and learn to pass horses safely – on Scalextric-style rural track

  • A British Horse Society (BHS) Scalextric-style track mimicking a rural road and its hazards has gone down a storm with drivers – who compete to be the slowest to complete it.

    Think Scalextric created the bespoke slot car track, which the BHS has been using at motor shows and events this summer.

    BHS director of safety Alan Hiscox told H&H users are invited to “drive” model cars on the track, which has been designed to represent a country road. It features “hazards” including horses and riders, approaching the road from a bridleway and on the road, a carriage driver and cattle grids, as well as loose ponies such as those seen on Dartmoor and in the New Forest.

    Drivers are first told about the BHS Dead Slow road safety campaign messages on how to pass horses safely, and asked to identify what they think the hazards on the track are.

    “It’s a great way of getting people on to our stand and engaging with them,” Mr Hiscox said. “We talk them through the campaign and then the idea is for them to go round the track as slowly as they can, for three laps. We time them, and put the times on a Top Gear leaderboard.”

    Mr Hiscox said the idea was a roaring success; people were trying their best to be the slowest.

    “It was great,” he said. “You can go really slowly as we’ve altered the cars’ voltage, and we had people coming back, to see if they still had the slowest time, or to have another go. One man did it at the Silverstone Classic, then he came again at the Goodwood Revival, to try to beat his time. And people are going away saying what a good way to engage drivers who aren’t horse riders, on what they should do on rural roads.”

    The BHS team also used the opportunity to talk to people about the Highway Code changes, which include specific guidance on passing horses. They found that of 135 people who took the challenge, only 17 knew about these specific changes, which Mr Hiscox said was a “shocking” statistic showing that more work needs to be done – but 121 people said they would pass horses more slowly and widely in future. The other 14 said they already followed these rules.

    “And they all went away saying they’d pass horses slower and wider in future,” Mr Hiscox said.

    Mr Hiscox came up with the idea when he saw a similar track at an event last year, on which people were challenged to record the fastest time.

    “I thought, ‘Hang on, surely we can do this and get the slowest lap’,” he said. “You should have seen the company’s faces when I said I wanted the slowest but they’ve done a brilliant job, the detail is amazing.”

    Mr Hiscox said the track has also been on show at road safety partnership events, and will do so more in future, as well as at motor festivals.

    “We created it to get people on the stand,” he said. “At motoring events, it’s difficult to get the connection because people think ‘British Horse Society, what are they doing here?’ and walk past. But they see this and want to have a go, then we’ve got the hook to talk to them about the Dead Slow campaign.”

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