Wandering stock causes Waikato crashes

Cows, sheep, goats and deer are behind a spate of recent crashes and near misses in Waikato, police warn.

A driver was seriously hurt in a two car collision with a cow in Orongo near Kopu early on Monday.

The other incidents had potential for serious injuries or worse being suffered, Waikato district road policing manager inspector Freda Grace said.

Some of the incidents involved a number of livestock being on the road.

Six to 10 sheep were spotted on State Highway 23 about midday on Sunday.

About 4.20am on Monday, 10 to 15 cows were seen walking along Waitomo Caves Rd.

Two hours later seven large cows were spotted on Bush Rd near Ngatea.

Then about 4.30pm five cows were on the loose on State Highway 1 at Ohinewai.

"In addition to these we've had about half a dozen incidents of dogs on rural highways over the same period including two incidents where the animals have had to be put down," Ms Grace said.

"To avoid tragedy it is important for land owners to ensure the integrity of their fences and farm gates, particularly in areas where stock are grazing paddocks next to roadsides," she said.

"Another important thing is motorists who have crashes where farm fences are damaged need to report it, not slink off in the middle of the night leaving a potential accident waiting to happen."

Motorists had responsibilities as well, she said.

"We need to ensure vehicles are up to warrant of fitness standard, particularly in terms of headlights.

"Drivers need to drive at a speed that allows them to react in time to unforeseen circumstances, and having proper lighting plays a major part in this."

Other incidents reported

• Three goats on the Thames Coast Rd about midday on Thursday

• A cow on SH2 near Steen Rd Waitakaruru about 2pm Sunday.

• Four cows wandering from Island Block Rd on to SH1 at Meremere about 4pm Sunday

• A large sheep on SH27 at Patetonga about 4.15pm Sunday.

• A cow running along Old Tauranga Rd near Waihi about 8am on Monday.

• A large deer on SH29 on the west side of the Kaimai summit about 9.45am on Monday.

• Three sheep on the road on SH25 near Whitianga at 12.20pm on Monday.

• A cow on SH3 near Ohaupo about 11am Tuesday.

• Two cows on SH3 near Airport Rd, Rukuhia about 6.35am Friday.

- By Catherine Gaffaney of APNZ

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