News & Media

Watch out for wildlife on the road! October and November peak months for incidents

by Mike Lloyd (News 1130)
October 26, 2012

VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – With fall underway and winter on the horizon, daylight hours are getting fewer and it’s getting much more difficult to to see wildlife on the road.
    
The BC Conservation Foundation wants drivers to slow down and pay attention.
    
Their figures suggest up to 24,000 animals are killed by vehicles across the province every year and those collisions result in the death of six people and about 400 injuries, on average.
    
“There are some common sense things drivers can do to help reduce their risk,” says Gayle Hesse Program Coordinator of the BCCF’s Wildlife Collision Prevention Program.
    
“The first thing is to drive ‘wildlife aware,’ don’t be surprised to see animals; drive expecting to see them. The second thing is to simply slow down. Drivers need to buy themselves time to react to wildlife hazards on the road, time to break so they don’t have to swerve. Another way to buy yourself time to react is to make sure your headlights are in good condition,” explains Hesse.
    
She recommends buying a headlight restoration kit to clear up yellowed and cloudy lenses.
    
“The fourth thing is to watch for wildlife warning signs. They’re not scattered randomly across the landscape; they’re located in areas where collisions occur,” she adds.
    
“The last thing drivers can do is actively watch for wildlife on the road. If you see a deer, shift your attention to the deer that’s following behind. Deer travel in groups; if you see one there is almost always more. It’s often the deer you don’t see that is going to cause you problems.”
    
Animals are attracted to road salt this time of year and easy forage along the shoulders. On northern highways, it can be easier for animals to travel on ploughed roads than through the snowy bush and better sight lines allow animals to spot prey further away.
    
“I’d like to stress that you really need to give yourself time to react. If you can see the animals sooner, you have time to react. Give yourself two or three seconds more reaction time; if your headlights are in good condition and if you’re paying attention, that can be the difference between a wildlife collision and coming home safely,” says Hesse.