News & Media

Driving with wildlife in mind

June 8, 2012

This summer the risk of vehicle–wildlife collisions will increase as Canadians hit the roads for cottage country, campgrounds and other vacation destinations. Consider these statistics, which illustrate the frequency of such collisions:

  • There are 4 to 8 vehicle collisions with large animals every hour in Canada.1


  • Roughly 384 motorists are injured in collisions with wild animals each year in British Columbia.2


  • There were 783 collisions with moose in Newfoundland in 2010.3


  • In Ontario, 1 out of every 17 vehicle collisions involves a wild animal.4

Reduce your collision risk

  • Pay attention to the landscape you’re driving through. Studies show that areas with roadside vegetation and places where creeks intersect with roads are at high risk for accidents. Long, straight stretches also pose a high risk because drivers tend to speed up on them.
  • Be especially careful if you are on a motorcycle. While only 2% of deer–car collisions result in human fatalities, 85% of deer–motorcycle collisions involve human fatalities.5


  • Avoid driving at dawn, dusk and night, when wildlife activity is at its peak.

To swerve or not to swerve?

  • Upon seeing a wild animal on or near the road, brake firmly, but don’t swerve. Sound your horn in a series of short bursts to frighten the animal away. If you can slow down with control, steer around the animal, but stay on the road.
  • If a collision is unavoidable, angle your vehicle to skim the animal, rather than hit it head-on. Move your vehicle off the road, and call your local road authority to remove the animal. Don’t approach an injured animal, as it could hurt you or itself.

Remember, wearing your seatbelt is one of the best ways to prevent injury in any collision.

Source: Wildlife Collision Prevention Program.

Wildlife Collision Prevention Program, 2012.

2  This figure is a mathematical average, obtained from past records of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia.

3  Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

4  Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Watch for Wildlife, 2012.

Defenders of Wildlife, Watch Out for Wildlife, 2012.