Roads attract wildlife because they give animals a clear travel corridor, easy access to food, and a source of salt in the winter. Plus, many species are active at dawn and dusk when visibility is poor and traffic volume is high. In 2016, 60% of reported collisions on rural highways involved an animal!
Here's what to do to reduce road risks.
WILDLIFE SAFETY TIPS
- Watch for wildlife warning signs and slow down in areas where animal crossing signs are posted.
- Scan the roadway and ditches ahead for animals. Improve your ability to see by keeping your windshield and headlights clean.
- Slow down in curves and when reaching the crest of a hill.
- Watch for the shining eyes or silhouette of an animal at night and use high beams when there are no oncoming vehicles.
- Slow down if an animal is on or near the road and be prepared to stop. Their behaviour is unpredictable.
- If you see one animal, be on the look out for more - some travel in groups.
- Be particularly careful in November, as days get shorter and animals begin to migrate.
- Brake firmly if an animal is in your path, and don't swerve to avoid it.
- Honk in a series of short bursts to chase animals away.
WHAT IF I HIT AN ANIMAL (OR SEE AN INJURED OR DEAD ANIMAL)?
- If you do have a collision with an animal, report the collision to the RCMP or local police.
- If the animal is injured, do not approach it - injured animals can be very dangerous. Contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife Area Office.
- If the animal is dead, report the location on the Wildlife Watch app.
The Alberta Wildlife Watch Program collects and analyzes data on animal-vehicle collisions in order to improve both driver and animal safety, reduce the number of animal collisions, provide information to inform mitigation strategies, and to help evaluate mitigation activities.
You can find out more about the Wildlife Watch Program on Alberta.ca.
You can download the Wildlife Watch App on albertawildlifewatch.ca.
The Alberta government helps reduce the number of collisions with wildlife by installing fences, warning signs, roadside reflectors, and by maintaining vegetation control along highways. Bushes and trees are also cut back to allow you to see animals on either side of the road.