The road law most rural drivers should know, but don't
A MOUNT Marshall woman is asking country drivers to take heed of an important road rule that is most relevant in rural areas, yet many don't know exist.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has issued a public warning to drivers that come in contact with agitated horses.
'If you're driving near a horse rider and they signal that their horse is jumpy or agitated then you must stop at the side of the road and turn off your motor,' the Department tweeted on social media.
'It's for the rider's safety, the horse's safety, and yours.'
According to the state road rules, a driver must not move until they are sure their vehicle's engine or its movement will not aggravate the horse.
Disobeying the rule could land drivers with a fine of up to $2600 if they don't obey.
Mt Marshall heavy horse breeder Clare Gorwyn said if more people followed the rules there would be less anxiety for horse riders who use roads as passageways when riding out.
"I think less and less people ride out on the roads because of the fear of that particular one motorists doesn't slow down," Ms Gorwyn said.
"If I went out there knowing everyone was going to the right thing but I know I have the chance of that one person who doesn't slow does or kicks up a shower of gravel."
She called for more awareness among drivers of the road rules surrounding agitated horses.
"We live in a rural area where people have chosen to come to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle and "country" activities.
"This includes horse-riding just as it does walking (with or without a dog) cycling or motor bike riding," she said.
"(As a rider) you're entitled to ride on the road and naturally would use the verge but there are times when you have to used the road.
"The horses do have right of way as now the law says cars have to stop if the horse is agitated."
As an experienced horse rider and breeder, Ms Gorwyn said signs of an agitated horse can be as subtle as standing still with head held high and ears pricked to odd, restless movements.
"It may start to 'dance' or prance about or start moving sideways - either away from but sometimes towards the road."
Oncoming cars could make horses shy, buck, throw the rider or jump towards the car, Mrs Gorwyn said.
"For the most part 95 per cent of people are really good but when you get that one person flying past you and doesn't care the horse spooks and then they think it's all your fault for being our there on a horse that can't handle traffic."
Queensland is one of the few states where road rules apply to interactions between horse riders and drivers. New South Wales drivers are not governed by specific rules on when or where to stop when around an agitated horse.