Driving and Animal Safety this Summer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Animal crossing road

Thousands of animals are killed on Canada's roads every year. In some cases the drivers that hit them are also injured. To avoid a collision with an animal this summer, pay attention to the following:

  • In urban areas it is common to find pets running across roads. If drivers pay attention to the road and they drive at the speed limit, they are often able to stop. If you know you cannot stop in time, do not swerve. Rather brake and, as upsetting as it is, hit the animal at a lower speed. Swerving may cause a collision with another vehicle, a lamp post or some other object. That may actually injure or even kill you or your fellow motorists.

  • The most common species you can expect around rural roads are deer, elk, and moose. These animals are large enough to damage your vehicle and injure you if you do not wear a seat belt. A collision with a moose can break the windshield and even crush the roof, so crouch as low as possible in your seat if you cannot avoid hitting it . 

  • Animals are more active at dawn and dusk than at any other time of the day. Unfortunately, these are also the times when drivers may have the greatest difficulty to see them. Keep your lights on, drive at the speed limit and scan the road, the shoulder and the roadside. 

  • If you see the lights of other vehicles or roadside reflectors flash or disappear, it may be an animal that is running across the road. Drive slower until you think you may be through the animal habitat.

  • Parks Canada requests that drivers refrain from feeding animals in the parks and on the national roads that run through the parks. It is important that animals remain wary of people, instead of learning that roads are places where they are given food. 

  • Remember that wounded animals are dangerous. As painful as it is, avoid it if it is still alive. 

  • After hitting an animal, you must notify the local Fish and Wildlife office. They record all the road kills, and judge the condition of the carcase before they remove it. Most carcases are removed and processed for carniverous animals.  

Plan what action to take today so you can be prepared if it happens.