As ME Amish Communities Grow, Here’s How to Share the Road Safely
I've always enjoyed the fact that I've always lived in relatively small towns. It's never been unusual to drive by a farm with a bunch of cows. Heck, one time a cow got out into the road and I helped herd her back home! You don't get that kind of experience in the city.
In recent years the greater Whitefield area has seen the establishment and continuous growth of an Amish community. It's been an adjustment for everyone since their arrival but it certainly adds to the country feel.
They've been around long enough now that the community has learned to co-exist. Folks are more aware of their presence on the roads, avoiding horse poop and even helping out with rides and communication as needed as it's against their way of life to drive or use technology such as phones.
While for many it has been an easy adjustment, some residents and visitors to the area still don't know the expectation when it comes to sharing the road.
The Maine DOT shared a reminder on their Facebook page that motorists, by law, are required to stop if someone alerts the motorist that their animal is in distress. Once the animal is calm, the motorist may pass.
They also released a brochure with quick tips about driving safely with horse-drawn buggies.
- Horses are easily startled so lay off the horn and don't rev your engine.
- Turn off your high-beams as you would when encountering another vehicle.
- When passing a buggy, allow at least 3-feet of space.
Recently in Clinton, a horse-drawn wagon (not believed to be occupied by an Amish family) was involved in an accident that resulted in four people being hurt according to the Portland Press Herald.
As our communities continue to change, grow, and evolve, let's all make sure we can do these things safely and respectfully!