Although we are often oblivious to it, human beings share planet earth with many other life forms. Sadly the earth’s wildlife species are often victims of man’s actions. The damage is greater when there is a conflict between animals and people. One area that is notorious for human-animal conflict and the resulting devastation is the roadways. Despite the efforts of wild animal control teams, wildlife animals continue to suffer on the roads of Canada and indeed the world.
Wild Animals Use the Roads Too!
As we use the roads we must remember the animals who also use the roads. Even though they were probably not considered among the potential users when they were being built, animals in many instances have no choice but to use roadways. Imagine a deer, raccoon or skunk trying to get to a stream or lake across the road from its resting place. During mating season animals may also crossroads to get to others of their kind. In fact, each fall when it is mating season for moose and deer, the road fatalities for these animals increase.
Drivers and their passengers are also affected by vehicular accidents involving animals. Swerving to avoid an animal may lead to a collision or a descent down a dangerous slope. Larger animals such as moose tend to get propelled into windshields when they are hit by vehicles and you can just imagine the danger drivers and passengers face in these situations!
Wild Animal Control- One Part of the Solution
The actions and regulations of some jurisdictions may help to reduce the suffering of wild animals on the world’s roads. In Canada, wild animal control measures such as enclosures that keep wildlife animals off roads help to reduce the number of animals and people who get hurt during these collisions. Over and underpasses designed for use by animals also help.
Driving To Prevent Incidents
Remember that unlike us, animals cannot decode road rules and therefore the onus remains on drivers to ensure the safety of all. This means careful driving. Even when encountering animals, swerving is still not recommended as it puts the driver and possibly other road users at risk. Many drivers have perished as a result of swerving to avoid animals in the road. Poor visibility at night is also dangerous. For the safest driving methods to avoid wildlife confrontations, here are some basic driving strategies for you to follow on the road:
- Always driving with your lights on, to increase your visibility.
- Decrease speed when visibility or road conditions change due to weather, construction etc. this gives the driver more time to escape a potential collision
- If on rural roads, or roads with wildlife warning signs, drive with one hand over your horn to be ready to communicate with wildlife.
Drivers on Ontario’s roads need to be especially careful as these roads often pass by and through natural habitats for wildlife animals. Ontario’s animal-related vehicular collisions figure (more than 14000 annually) is the highest in Canada.
If we change our road use practices bearing in mind the non-human users of the road, then the danger to both people and animals will be reduced. There will also be less need for wild animal control teams to carry out damage control when animals are killed or maimed on the roads.