The NZ Transport Agency is asking motorists to be extra cautious, and farmers to make safety a top priority when moving livestock on the roads on Gypsy Day which falls on June 1, a period when many dairy herds are moved between farms in the region.
Canterbury is home to over 1.3million cows, about half of the South Island's dairy cattle population.
Lee Wright Transport Agency Journey Manager for Canterbury and the West Coast says motorists are asked to take care when driving on highways over Queens Birthday Weekend, especially in South Canterbury as many cows will be herded along roads if it's only a short distance between the farm they are leaving and the one they are going to.
Gypsy Day tips for farmers:
Plan ahead – use the most direct route to move stock and only cross or follow the road if it is necessary. Move stock during daylight hours and avoid doing this at peak morning and afternoon travel times. Keep the stock off well maintained road verges.
Those involved in driving stock must wear high visibility clothing to ensure they can be clearly seen by road users, warning signs should be used and flashing amber beacon lights activated on vehicles that are part of the droving operation.
Particular care is needed when moving stock on roads with bends. Signs or a pilot vehicle with a flashing amber beacon will be needed around the corner, to warn motorists of stock ahead.
If moving machinery drive slowly and, if necessary, have a pilot vehicle to warn road users of the wide vehicle following.
Know your legal obligations around driving livestock along or across a road.
If you are moving stock on Gypsy Day on a local road or a highway, you need a permit and a traffic management plan.
The Transport Agency is keen to help farmers move their stock safely and without causing disruption for road users.
For more information please contact NZ Transport Agency 0800 44 44 49