Just recently I came across a cow in the middle of the road who had clearly exited her pasture unexpectedly. After some careful maneuvering and planning we got her back into her to her right pasture safely and happily. With daylight running shorter every day and cattle being moved frequently, running across livestock in the road is more and more likely. This week we are going to take a short departure from the usual pet talk and briefly discuss what you can when you encounter livestock on the roadway.
When you encounter livestock on the roadway PLACE yourself carefully in the situation.
Pause your vehicle a good distance for the animal(s). A good distance is when the animal(s) remain calm and do react to your presence.
Look carefully around you to see all the animals. Usually where there is one more follow and you do not want to hit an animal by surprise.
Assess the demeanor of the animal(s) on the road and make sure you are in a safe position. Upset or aggressive animals may feel threated by vehicles or people. Do not exit the vehicle if you are not comfortable or certain you can remain safe.
Call for help or to alert the proper individuals of the issue. If you know the likely owner of the cattle you can call them. Otherwise, call law enforcement so they can determine the likely owner and keep the road safe. Vehicular accidents with livestock can be fatal for both people and animals.
Exit the situation with caution. When you choose to leave, or pass the animal(s) in question give them plenty of space, drive very slowly (<10mph), do not flash your lights or honk your horn. Sudden bright lights and loud noises can scare an animal into your vehicle or on the run. Do not drive behind animals. You may inadvertently “herd” them away from their herd.Overall, use caution and common sense when encountering animals in the road.