Drivers face £5,000 fine on rural roads due to little-known 10mph rule

Drivers have been warned over fines and licence points for breaking a little-known Highway Code rule in rural areas. Drivers should give extra space when overtaking pedestrians or horse riders under Rule 215 - or risk financial penalties and even POINTS.

A spokesperson for Swansway Motor Group has called on drivers to be aware and warned: "Horses are vulnerable road users, and the Highway Code requires drivers to slow down to 10 mph when passing horses, maintaining at least two metres of space.

"This is crucial to prevent accidents caused by spooked horses, which can react unpredictably to perceived threats. Most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover the cost of a horse damaging a vehicle, provided it wasn’t the driver’s fault."

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Motorists can be hit with a maximum fine of £5,000 if they are accused of driving without due care and attention. More likely, though, is a £100 on the spot fine in the form of a fixed penalty notice, which could then be reduced if motorists pay it swiftly.

The spokesperson for Swansway added: "In rural areas, where encounters with horses are more common, it’s particularly important for drivers to be vigilant and patient. Awareness and caution can significantly reduce the risk of accidents and serious injuries."

The Highway Code warns: "Always pass wide and slowly. When you see a horse on a road, you should slow down to a maximum of 10 mph. Be patient, do not sound your horn or rev your engine. When safe to do so, pass wide and slow, allowing at least 2 metres of space."

It adds: "Feral or semi feral ponies found in areas such as the New Forest, Exmoor and Dartmoor require the same consideration as ridden horses when approaching or passing. Horse riders are often children, so take extra care and remember riders may ride in double file when escorting a young or inexperienced horse or rider. Look out for horse riders’ and horse drivers’ signals and heed a request to slow down or stop. Take great care and treat all horses as a potential hazard; they can be unpredictable, despite the efforts of their rider/driver. Remember there are three brains at work when you pass a horse; the rider’s, the driver’s and the horse’s. Do not forget horses are flight animals and can move incredibly quickly if startled."