I’m highlighting this report to make the point that motor vehicle drivers are not always at fault in car-buggy accidents. In this accident, the buggy driver failed to yield. A reminder that Amish are humans and also do not drive perfectly. Fortunately, the eight-year-old passenger who was thrown from the buggy has only non-life-threatening injuries. From syracuse.com:

Orleans, N.Y. — An 8-year-old boy was thrown from an Amish buggy Monday after a collision with a pick-up truck in Jefferson County, troopers said.

The crash happened at about 9:11 a.m. on County Route 181, near the intersection of County Route 5 in Orleans, according to a news release issued by state police.

Abraham S. Gingerich, 19, of La Fargeville, was driving the buggy in a westbound lane of Rt. 181 when he tried to make a left turn into a southbound lane of Rt. 5, troopers said. He did not yield to a 2017 Ford pick-up truck, they said.

Gingerrich and the 8-year-old boy were thrown from the buggy, and the truck slammed into a fence, troopers said.

The boy was taken to Samaritan Medical Center in Watertown with non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said. Gingerich declined medical treatment, they said.

So it’s not a given in every car-buggy accident that the car driver is going to be at fault. There could be external factors like weather, lack of visibility, physical landscape features, or as in this case, buggy driver fault at play, which lessen or remove any fault from the vehicle driver. That said, we have had a regular flow of accidents due to reckless or even impaired driving, which are completely preventable on the part of the motor vehicle operators.

The other point here is about defensive driving. Do they still teach that concept? That was one my father really drilled into my consciousness as a young 15-year-old on a learner’s permit. It seems like it would be even more relevant today with all the tech distractions around us (both from smartphones….and from the seemingly ever-growing collection of features – warnings lights, sounds, assisted driving enhancements – in modern cars, purportedly making us safer…).

In any case it’s a good idea to keep defensive driving in mind when on the roads with Amish buggies. A horse can bolt, or a driver can make an error, like in this case. And in general, slowing down by 10-20% below normal isn’t the worst idea.

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