Encountering wildlife on the road can be scary, and very dangerous. Although animals on the road are hazardous all year round, this time of year in Canada is notorious for active wildlife who are more likely to wonder from the woods onto highways and residential streets. There is nothing to be done as a driver to prevent wildlife from crossing, but there are ways in which to decrease your likelihood of hitting them. Here are 5 tips to avoid colliding with wildlife.
- Avoid Peak Times
Wildlife collisions are most popular at dusk or dawn, which is when deer are most active, and when drivers find it most difficult to see. If you find yourself on the road during dusk or dawn, pay extra attention to your surroundings. Also note times of the year. Early fall is usually mating season for large animals such as moose, who follow scents and are more likely to wonder into busy areas like highways. Likewise, springtime is when most wildlife families are on the move, so beware of groups of wildlife traveling with their young.
- Scan the Road
At night it can be hard to see what is not directly in front of you. When possible, drive with your high beams to get the widest possible visibility from shoulder to shoulder. Constantly scan to look for movement and glowing eyes. If traveling with a passenger, they should also be keeping an eye out for wildlife, especially on the shoulders where animals can run out in front of cars.
- Where There’s One There’s Many
Large animals like deer, bears, and moose, tend to travel in groups. If you notice an animal that is within sight of the road, immediately slow down. Although they may not be traveling one directly after the other, beware that where there is one, there are many, and may be coming up in your path.
- No Distracted Driving
Although this is always true for driving, taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can be the difference between avoiding an animal who’s crossing, or hitting it. Distracted driving does not only mean texting, and talking on the phone, but is anything that involves taking your eyes off the road, including eating, fiddling with the radio or GPS, or turning your gaze to grab something from the backseat. It is important to remember that even if you are the only vehicle on the road and you think it’s okay to look away for a second, there are other hazards that may pop up, such as wildlife, and you need to be alert and ready to protect yourself.
- Use Your Horn
If you notice an animal standing on, or near the road, remember that they can be very unpredictable, and there may be others. Even if you think you can get by slowly, scaring the animals away from the roads protects you, the animal, and drivers who are coming. You can do this by honking your horn in short bursts to encourage the animal, and any others that are near, to leave the area. Deer tend to be mesmerised by the lights and don’t move at the presence of cars or loud noises. Flashing your lights can also scare the animals to run away from the road. Honking and flashing your lights will also warn drivers to beware, and slow down upon entering the area.
CLG Injury Law has over 35 years’ experience representing Atlantic Canadians who have suffered injuries following a motor vehicle accident. For more articles and safety tips, go to https://cantiniinjurylaw.ca/blog/ or subscribe to our newsletter.