With almost 91,000kms of regional and local roads in Ireland, it is not uncommon for motorists to come across loose livestock. Livestock have been mentioned in many an AA Roadwatch radio report over the years with “horses loose” or “geese waddling” a common occurrence. It may make for a light-hearted listen whether it is deer, swans, cattle, horses, sheep or goats but they all pose a danger for motorists.
Animals don’t usually cause that many single vehicle collisions but motorists must be aware how to behave if they do come across livestock. According to the RSA, there were twenty cases of injury and zero fatalities in 2010. This is a relatively low number compared with the number of single vehicle collisions with ditches. In 2010, there were 23 fatalities and 595 cases of injury.
If motorists come across loose livestock or farmers moving animals; it is imperative that motorists be patient and do not startle the animal.
Always slow down and be prepared to stop when approaching or overtaking animals.
You must obey any signal to slow down or stop given by the person moving animals.
Motorists should avoid using their horn if an animal is in front as it might frighten them.
A warning sign will be in place on roads where animals are common.