Wildlife a risk factor on roadways


By Tara Seel

      Media Relations Officer

During the fall season, not only are road conditions changing, nightfall is coming earlier and wildlife is very active. Many species of wildlife are migrating and mating at this time of year, which means they will encounter roadways more frequently, increasing the risk of a collision with a motor vehicle.

Statistically, November is the worst month for deer-vehicle collisions. There is an average of 6800 wildlife-vehicle collisions taking place in Manitoba every year.

When travelling in areas populated by wildlife, follow these safety tips to help avoid collisions and get home safely:

Be aware of surroundings – heavily wooded areas, for example, provide more cover for wildlife, and they are likely to be in the area

Look for wildlife crossing signs

Be prepared for the sudden appearance of wildlife on the roadway

• Slow down – drive at a speed that will allow you to stop suddenly

Scan the road and surrounding area for animals, especially looking for the reflection of the headlights in the eyes of an animal

  Dawn, dusk and night are when wildlife is the least visible, so drivers need to be especially vigilant

If you see an animal, maintain your course; swerving could cause you to lose control of the vehicle or veer into oncoming traffic

  Engage your horn to frighten an animal out of the way

• If you cannot avoid colliding with an animal, let up on the brakes at the last moment, as this causes the nose of the vehicle to rise, reducing the risk of the animal coming toward or through the windshield

• Always buckle up!

Expect the unexpected on the roadways this fall and be prepared. The basic safety rules of slowing down, buckling up and keeping your eyes on the road will help you avoid collisions with Manitoba wildlife.Stay safe!