Be Careful of Winter Roadkill

Just a few days ago, on November 1st to be precise, day-light saving ended, welcoming the winter transition. As days become shorter and weather unpredictable, higher is the risk of being involved in a wildlife-related accident.

October through December is a high-traffic time for animals moving from one part of their habitats to another while they breed and forage for food. Besides, visibility is poor during these months.

Between 1995 and 2005, there were 30,245 animal-vehicle collisions on Colorado’s roadways, according to the most recent statistics available from the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Twenty nine of the crashes resulted in fatalities—2,505 resulted in injuries and 27,711 resulted in property damage.

In the U.S., there are 725,000 to 1.5 million wildlife-vehicle collisions every year, representing over a billion dollars in property damage and over 200 human fatalities annually.

road in the forest in autumn, fall colorsAs for wildlife, according to the state agency, during 2014 a total of 239 animals were killed on the road.

Deer are extremely vulnerable to being struck this time of year because this is their peak mating season. They are more mobile, easily distracted and more likely to be crossing roadways.

Crashing against a Deer is no joke, not only for the poor animal, but also for the driver and passengers. The average deer shoulder height is about 3.5 feet and weights between 125 and 300 pounds. A direct hit can literary destroy the car.

Driving Precautions

  • Slow Down! Driving slowly increases reaction time and reduces the chance of a collision.
  • Stay Alert while driving at dusk and dawn. This is when many of Colorado’s wildlife are the most active and are likely to be crossing roadways. Avoid driving with other distractions.
  • Red Deer BuckScan Ahead and watch for movement along roadsides. Look for more animals after you see one animal – they often travel in groups.
  • Obey traffic signs like wildlife warning and speed limit signs. Brake, don’t swerve and don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t litter. Littering or feeding animals attract them to the road. Avoid these actions.

At Night

  • When driving at night, watch for shining eyes in headlights. Always look and be prepared for more than one animal and be ready for animals to change direction.
  • Use high beams to improve visibility when there’s no oncoming traffic.
  • Slow down on blind curves and pass with care.

Remember to keep your seatbelt on, be careful and enjoy the ride. Keep in mind that motor vehicle accidents involving wildlife rank as the third leading cause for crashes behind speeding and inattentive driving.