Amish on our roadways

So in my part of Indiana its common to see Amish folks tooling about in their horse drawn buggies on two lane 55mph state or US highways, many times in hilly country that does not have many safe passing opportunities for a mile or so.

Many drivers get enraged and roar their engines and speed past the Amish who many times have their children with them. Some of these enraged types even throw empty beer bottles at the buggies as they roar by.

Some drivers are well adjusted level headed people and they just enjoy the view and the drive and wait patiently for a safe place to pass. These people make the world a better place and the roads safer.

Some people thing the Amish and their buggies have no business on our roadways and are nothing but an impediment to modern travel and commerce. What a shame some people are such self centered narcissists that they have no respect or empathy for those that chose to live a different way.

Just today I got behind a buggy and was patently following at about 20mph enjoying the scenery for about 1/4 of a mile when I noticed a rapidly approaching crossover barreling up behind me. I sensed the trouble that was coming.

The hurried driver was riding my tail and kept going left of center looking to pass in the no passing zone and reluctantly followed me for another 1/4 mile.

So there was a small clearing and the driver roared right by me gunning the engine in a hurried manic like madness and barreled by me, the no passing zone be damned. Well a car was coming the other way and the hurried driver had to dart in front of me and behind the buggy to avoid a near head on collision.

No doubt this caused fear for the Amish family and the other driver. The impatient madness continued until they finally reached a passing zone and roared by the buggy.

The funny thing is the buggy turned on the next road and I was soon on my way motoring about at a safe and sane 55mph.

As I made it into the next town what did I see at the approaching train crossing? The hurried driver. Stopped. She would not respect the Amish, but thankfully she did respect the cross arms enough to stop.

What a shame someone was willing to break the law and risk others lives for no reason other that trying to “make time”.

Even if not caught by the red light, the time saved would have amounted to very little.

I wonder what the Amish must think about the speed crazed English roaring about in their horseless carriages so willing to risk killing others just to save a minute that they will waste away on some modern excess anyway.


I’ve was on a business trip near Lancaster PA for a couple weeks and Amish in their buggies all over the place. I never had a problem (and they didn’t have a problem with me). I did see a few people who did though. Mostly kids…but a few adolescent adults.

One time I was caught behind a buggy for almost 5 miles. No way to pass. No big deal. When he finally had a spot to pull over - he did…and we waved at each other as I passed…Kinda like him saying “Thanks for not killing me”…and me responding “You’re Welcome”


There is an Amish area in WI, I like to go the back roads and pick up some awesome baked goods. Buggies are what you expect. There is a (I believe) $50 a year road tax because of the wear the buggies and horses cause, which is a little ironic with all the frack sand trucks with no extra charge. Most of the amish will pull over as far as they can to give you an opportunity to pass and I never considered the no passing zone applied to buggies, so I will pass respectfully when safe.

Funny story, we saw an Amish place, “FRESH TROUT” What do you like 1,2, or 3 lb he asked. 3lbs I guess, we follow him to his trout farm, he gets his net and hands us a 3lb trout. I cleaned it on a trout food bag in the drive with barefoot girls in bonnets running around, threw it in the cooler and went on our way. Shortly thereafter we saw a sign that said Fresh Turkey, and decided to pass.:slight_smile:

Well, I guess that those Amish folks just have to start funneling money directly to legislators in the state capital if they expect to be treated with any modicum of respect.

Or, alternatively, they might just want to hire Michael Cohen, who is… semi-skilled… at funneling money for his clients. They should just be sure to hire him before he goes to “the slammer”…

Could be pricey. Another story Amish and car related, there is a switchback road to the top of wildcat mountain park, we like to stop and enjoy the view. A van pulled in, Amish lady driving and a whole bunch of Amish kids piled out to enjoy the park, Bet they love her on weekdays, and shun her on Sundays I thought.

She is probably a member of the so-called Black Bumper Amish. Those folks drive cars and vans, but any chrome trim must be blacked-out.

There are Amish and Amish. When you drive down the road in Amish country and see no power or telephone wires leading to the farm houses, they are the conservative types.

Not sure what type of oil they put in their lamps for lighting the houses and barns. Or what type of wax their candles are made of.

In Ohio there are plenty of road signs telling drivers: “Horse drawn carriages using these highways”.

We have several paintings by the well known Amish artist Peter Snyder. His scenes are either in a maple sugar bush (“sugaring”) or on a country road with horse drawn buggies.

Ever hear that saying “If you hear the sound of hoofs, think horses, not zebras”? Well in Amish country, if you hear the sound “clop clop clop, bang bang bang, clop clop clop”, think Amish drive-by shooting … lol …

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I stopped for gas somewhere in Wisconsin last week and there was a buggy and a guy selling stuff. It was really a great looking buggy and the horse was across the street in a field. I bought some real maple syrup for my McDonalds pancakes and some home made jam. They aren’t much different than anyone else except they don’t shave and wear funny clothes but it has been determined long ago that they have a right to use the roads. Now we’ve got a lot of tractors and implements on the road around here and my FIL used to say that you don’t get off the road and just stand your ground, otherwise someone for sure will come along and push you off the road. So I have a little more patience when a tractor is on the road and not the shoulder.

You can’t tell people are Amish just because of their dress. They could be Mennonite, Brethern or any number of small more recently formed conservative denominations. There are Old Order Mennonites that have stricter rukes than most Amish. Their buggies must be flat black with no rounded corners. The Mennonites come in wide varieties, some so modern that you would not notice as neighbors unless you realized that you didn’t see them with cars or clothes of bright colors or provocative dress.

My encounter with an Amish person goes back 50 years ago. I was teaching a college algebra class at the university where I was employed. I had given the first quiz and a student came in for help. He had earned s “C” and wanted to do better in the course. I spent about an hour with him and he said, “I see where I went wrong. I know I’ll do well on the next exams”. He was right. He earned As on all his work for the rest of the term.
In the meantime, I kept receiving calls from an administrative officer as to how well this student was doing in the class. I gave my standard answer “You will have to ask the student. What is your reason for this question?”. When I didn’t get a satisfactory answer, I ended the conversation. When I received two more calls with a request for information about this student, I decided to investigate. I went to the records office and requested to see the folder on the student which, as a faculty member, I was permitted to do. With great reluctance, the administrator produced the folder. There was no high school transcript. When I asked to see the transcript, I was told that there was no transcript. The student was from the Amish community and the formal education ends in 8th grade. I looked the administrator right in the eye and said, “Based on my experience with this student, I think you need to recruit more Amish students”.
This student not only completed a bachelor’s degree, but went ahead and earned a master’s degree. He not only worked his way through college, but was excommunicated.from his Amish community.
This student’s preparation from the Amish school was sufficient to let him pursue higher degrees.


His quest for education beyond the 8th grade undoubtedly played a large role in that excommunication. While I do respect the Amish, I don’t agree with them that becoming more “worldly” through education is a negative.


@VDCdriver I wish I knew the secret to opening up students’ minds for a quest for an education. I am certain that part of the secret through at least 8th grade is a structured, disciplined learning environment. The Amish schools provide this.
My son wasn’t doing anything in junior high school. For high school, I sent him to a military academy. In his sophomore year, we went up to visit him one Sunday. He talked incessantly about his biology teacher and how great this teacher he was. My wife finally asked him: “What makes a great teacher?”. My son responded: “Three things: 1) they have to know their stuff; 2) they have to be excited about it; and 3) they have to be able to tell people about it”.
Maybe the Amish student I had in class had teachers in the Amish school that possessed these qualities and inspired him.

The teacher whom I had for both Biology and Advanced Biology in high school was just such a person. It was only when I read her obituary, many years later, that I found out that she had a Ph.D. in Biology from Columbia U.! Apparntly she was so modest that she never wanted anyone to call her Dr. Mutchler. She was quite demanding, but I didn’t mind the workload because she made it so interesting, and I learned so much from her that I aced both Freshman Zoology and Freshman Botany in college–without so much as cracking a book!

But, let us not forget that much of the desire for learning comes from the parents. I vividly recall an incident after the school where I was a counselor instituted a required Summer Reading List for students. I fielded a phone call from an irate parent, and I assumed that he was taking issue with one or more of the books that were listed. I carefully explained that alternate choices were possible, as long as the titles were approved by the English Department Head. He yelled back at me… You don’t understand! I don’t want her reading ANY books!

Needless to say, his daughter was not a good student.

Our daughter had a math teacher that did not understand math. She had some word problems she was having trouble with. My post grad work was for teacher cerification in mathematics education. We got the right answers, but they were marked wrong because in showing her work it was not done the way the the teachers textbook with answers said was the solution. R: Amish, I have a picture somewhere of a buggy and trailer at a boat launch, and in the trailer is a canoe :slight_smile:

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I was helping my 6 year old Grandson with his homework. I don’t do his homework. At most I give him one or two clues and let him figure it out. He had a math word problem (story problems when I was in elementary school). It was find the ??? A word I had never encountered and he had no clue! I took a WAG at what the word should be to make the problem work. GS was able to come up with a correct answer! With only one other correct answer the teacher confessed that the non word was a mistake and all students answers were marked correct. Even in this private school teachers can be overworked and make mistakes. I loved the Amish buggy with a canoe on the trailer. It would have been hilarious with a tow rope and water skis in the canoe.

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We were at the Belvedere Oasis a week ago and there were a bunch of Amish (use the term loosely), I think they were selling the honey and jams etc. but I didn’t really pay attention. At any rate the guys had the hats and beards and suspenders and the girls had the long dresses with the caps on. (I don’t know what they are called). One girl, maybe high school age, was obviously with them and appeared to be with one guy, but did not have the head covering or the usual dress. It just struck me as strange and wondered if maybe she was a potential girl friend, out of town guest, or something. I was just curious anyway. They really all were very well behaved and respectful as they wandered around.

Some of the Amish apparently have an opportunity for the young adults to “explore” the real world for a set amount of time

At the end of that time period, they have a choice

Either they say outsiders, and lose contact with their Amish community and relatives

or they go back to their Amish community, and accept the life style, good and bad

It is known as Rumspringa,


Well that’s something I didn’t know. Interesting.