You’ve likely seen the signs on different highways, particularly in heavily wooded and rural areas, showing a figure of a deer or with the words “WILDLIFE CROSSING”. There is an excellent reason for that. In Ontario the numbers are staggering. As published in the Globe and Mail one study suggests that in Ontario alone there are an estimated 14,000 wildlife-vehicle collisions a year. According to animal control Ajax, there are a few things you can do to avoid the chance of hitting an animal on the road.
Why Animals Cross the Road
No, this isn’t the start of a joke. Animals actually do cross highways and roads, but maybe not for the reasons you might think. The reality is that they aren’t trespassing. Public property like highways cut through their natural habitats.
If someone ran a sidewalk through the middle of your yard, you would have to cross it to get to something or someone on the other side of the public access. It is no different for animals who may have dens on one side of the road but have to hunt or forage where they can find food. According to the area of the country, some animals may be trying to migrate to warmer temperatures, and others are more active during the breeding season. If we are to coexist peacefully, we need to be aware and respectful that we are visiting their homes.
When Wild Animals Are More Active
Animal/vehicle collisions account for many injuries and deaths each year. Dusk and dawn are both times that wildlife is typically the most active. Mating season is in early fall, and you may see many more deer or elk active during this time. Spring is a time when herds have many young among them. Another interesting fact is that the moon phase impacts animal behaviour. Small animals like raccoons, possums and skunks, among others, are all more active during full moons. Deer also feel more comfortable in the open during a full moon, increasing the incidents of collisions.
How To Take Evasive Action
In the Durham region, we have many wild animals to be aware of, such as geese, squirrels, raccoons and deer. To improve your chances of evading an animal on the road, try these safety tips:
- Be alert and avoid driving when fatigued, sleepy or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Use your headlight high beams when there isn’t oncoming traffic or a car in front of you.
- Drive more slowly in areas known for having an active wildlife population or in heavily wooded areas.
- Continuously scan the road and shoulders ahead of you.
- Wear your seatbelts.
What To Do If an Animal Runs Out in Front of You
If an animal does surprise you and runs out in front of your car, brake quickly and firmly. Stay in your lane and do not attempt to swerve to avoid the collision. You will increase your chances of injury by losing control or running off the roadway. Swerving also doesn’t guarantee that you’ll avoid hitting the animal.
If the collision is unavoidable and you do hit an animal, stay calm, put your hazard lights on and move to the side of the road, if possible. Check to make sure no one in the car is injured. Be wary of getting out of the vehicle in traffic or approaching a wild animal. Call for help, noting your location with the nearest mile marker if you are on a highway or a landmark, if not.
If you see wildlife wandering around your home regularly don’t attempt to remove them yourself. Skedaddle Humane Wildlife Control is endorsed by the SPCA and has the experience needed to relocate wildlife safely and effectively. Call today or contact the team online for questions or to schedule a service.