Amish Horse and Buggy

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James R. Schmidt, Jr., BSME, Sr. Collision Reconstruction Engineer ::::

During my travels this past holiday season, I encountered a single-horse Amish buggy heading eastbound on State Route 372 between Buck and Quarryville, in Lancaster County, PA. These buggies are a familiar sight in this area of Lancaster County. A couple of years ago during the height of summer, we counted over 30 buggies during our one-way travel along this route!

As a collision reconstruction engineer, I’m always interested in how fast vehicles are travelling, among other parameters. So, I’d like to take this opportunity to report a “fun fact”. Once again, using my Garmin dash cam and the GPS speed displayed thereon (note that I forgot to turn off the daylight savings time setting, as it’s dark outside by nearly 6 PM!), I am reporting the average speed of a typical single-horse Amish buggy on generally flat, level ground to be on the order of 6 mph. Specifically, the dash cam reported my speed as 6 mph as I followed the buggy for a short distance, while waiting for opposing traffic to pass and then ultimately for the buggy to make its left turn. Also, by measuring the distance between the two positions shown below on an aerial photograph (157 feet) and dividing by the time to travel this distance (18 seconds), I have independently confirmed my speed, and hence the buggy speed, to have been 6 mph on average.

 

While a “fun fact” to those reading, this point of reference for a horse and buggy speed could come into play in a future evaluation, as DJS Associates has been retained on several Amish buggy crashes over the years.

James R. Schmidt, Jr., is a Sr. Collision Reconstruction Engineer with DJS Associates and can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.

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