Drivers educated on ‘the real horsepower’ to keep everyone safe on the roads

  • The British Horse Society (BHS) is revealing the “truth about horsepower” this National Road Safety Week (19–25 November), to try to protect everyone on the roads.

    The charity is raising awareness of the weight and speed of the average horse, and the catastrophic damage it can cause to a car and its occupants.

    The aim is to educate on horses’ power; BHS safety director Alan Hiscox told H&H he hopes it will get motorists’ attention.

    “To them, horsepower means foot on the pedal and fast cars; we say no, and explain the origins of it, then they get it,” he said. “When we talk about real horsepower, we mean four legs, a mane and tail, and we get good buy-in from drivers.”

    Mr Hiscox said he takes a graphic to motoring events showing a horse next to a Ferrari, with the phrase “the real horsepower”, and explain how fast they can move and the damage they can cause. This is part of the BHS Dead Slow campaign, which this month Mr Hiscox took to the National Road Safety Conference , presenting to more than 400 people including representatives of the Department for Transport, police and driving instructors.

    He covered last year’s Highway Code changes and the need to communicate them more, adding: “It was the perfect opportunity to talk about the role of our campaign.

    “I’m a one-trick pony and make no apology; we keep putting out our messages as they will save horses’, riders’ and drivers’ lives.”

    Solicitor Cathryn Godfrey, who specialises in serious injury cases, is an equestrian and has worked with many riders injured on the roads. She works with the BHS on road safety and agreed getting the message out on the Highway Code is important, as is considering speed, the theme of this year’s Road Safety Week.

    “Excessive speeds, especially on country lanes, not realising a horse might be round the corner, whether literally running into the back of one,” she told H&H. “It could be any one of us.”

    Ms Godfrey cited the importance of riders’ doing all they can to stay safe, including wearing high-vis and paying attention to their surroundings at all times.

    “It’s thinking, ‘What can I do to keep myself and other road users as safe as possible?’” she said. “I’m passionate about wanting to reduce accidents.”

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