Hi-Viz: Don't be left in the Dark
When the autumn sun is lower in the sky, it can be difficult to see when driving. So even if it’s only a quick hack on the same route that you’ve done hundreds of times before, it’s still absolutely vital that horse riders wear hi viz.
Wearing hi-viz when out riding is always highly recommended, regardless of whether you ride on or off the road, the time of day, season or weather conditions. In accordance with rule 51 of the highway code, it is not recommended that you ride out at night or in poor visibility.
Make sure you and your horse look as BIG and unusual as possible to stand out!
The more hi-viz you wear, the more visible you will be. You will also give other road users a far better idea of the dimensions of you and your horse, making it easier for them to take steps to avoid you or pass you correctly. If you choose to wear a simple tabard and visibility is poor, a driver may mistake you for a dog walker and not realise that you have a half-ton horse underneath you until they are very close.
Consider circumstances where your hi-viz may not be visible too. Equisafety recommends, as a minimum, you should wear a hi-viz jacket or tabard to make yourself visible; a hat band or cover can also be a useful addition as this can indicate how tall you are when on your horse, and will still be visible if your horse holds his head high, as this can obstruct the visibility of your tabard completely from the front. It is recommended that your horse should at least wear leg bands, as this can be used as an indicator to show how big you are together, along with the rider hat band.
Wearing hi-viz can also help if you were to part company with your horse. If you have an unfortunate fall and need to be located by emergency services, wearing hi-viz can make you more visible and easier to find! Similarly, if your horse is wearing hi-viz and you do have a fall, he will be much easier to locate when loose, as well as reducing the possibility of an accident if he finds his way to the road.
When choosing a colour to wear, it’s important to consider the surroundings you’ll be riding in, to prevent your hi-viz from blending into the background too much, therefore having the opposite effect.
A final sobering thought...
Research shows that a driver travelling at 30mph will have an extra 3 seconds reaction time if he sees hi-viz on you or your horse than if you weren’t wearing any. This gives the driver an extra stopping distance of 40m – the size of a full-length dressage arena – which could make the difference between an accident and returning home safely.
Have you got your hi-viz sorted for the autumnal season?