Coming across wildlife on the road can be dangerous and scary. Especially when travelling on the highways throughout British Columbia, drivers need to be highly aware of their surroundings. Like people, animals have places to be and faces to see – even if they’re exclusively furry ones. However, unlike (most) people, they don’t like to adhere to our rules of the road. It’s not rare to have deer, moose, and rams crossing highways and residential streets throughout our forested province. While animals tend to be more active in the warmer months, they can be a hazard year-round. As a towing company in Vancouver, we see a lot of collisions, some of which are caused by animals on the road. To help keep you safe, here are 6 tips to avoid car collisions with wildlife…
1. Slow Down
The faster you drive the less reaction time you have. Therefore, the most important way to prevent collisions with wildlife is to slow down and follow the recommended speed limit. This gives you extra brake time should an animal come across your path. The slower you go, the lesser chance you’ll be calling a tow truck company to haul your damaged vehicle.
2. Look For Wildlife Crossing Signs
While you should always drive carefully, you should be especially wary in areas with a high wildlife population. To spot areas known for active animal encounters, keep an eye out for wildlife crossing signs and be extra cautious while driving through them.
3. Stay Alert
The more present and alert you are, the safer you’ll be. Specifically, you should not only keep your eyes on the road but your mirrors as well. If you’re like the majority, you may find yourself driving on autopilot from time to time. The best way to avoid this is to keep your eyes active by moving your stare between the road, your rear-view mirror, and side mirrors. At night, look for glowing eyes or “eye-shine” in the distance. You can even get your passengers to help too – the more eyes the better.
4. Beware of Peak Wildlife Seasons
Dusk and dawn are typically high times for animal travel. Typically, deer are most active between 6 and 9 pm which coincides with the worst time for driver visibility. This is also when drivers are the least alert, impaired by fatigue and distraction.
Be especially aware during these times of year:
- Fall is mating season for many animals, occurring between October and January. Throughout this time, many animals find themselves tracking scents, even if it takes them across busy roadways.
- Spring is a very active time of year for wildlife. Additionally, many animals are now travelling with their young, increasing the risk.
5. Don’t Tailgate
This lends to proper driving etiquette, wildlife or not. You should always keep a safe distance between you and other vehicles, between 2-5 seconds depending on the road conditions. Even more so if there’s a possibility of wildlife surprises; you don’t want to be tailgating the car that has to slam on their brakes for a moose ahead.
6. Shine Bright Like a Diamond
Rihanna’s not the only one who can use this tip. Using your high beams will increase your visibility and should not be wasted. Just be sure to switch to your regular headlights when an oncoming car is within 500 feet, to avoid blinding other drivers.
7. Be Wary of Herds
Many animals travel in packs, specifically deer. So, if you see one animal crossing the road, slow down and watch for additional ones. This can also help the drivers around you as it makes them aware of a potential hazard ahead.
8. Drive in the Middle
If you’re on a multi-lane highway, you can give extra room to wildlife by driving in the center lane. This also gives you more options for changing lanes in times of need.
9. Warn the Wildlife
Honking your horn or flashing your lights can alert animals and other drivers of your presence. Now, you obviously don’t want to be doing this without cause. However, if you see an animal standing on the side of the road, short bursts of honks and flashing headlights can encourage them to wait or find another route of passage.
10. React Strategically
If you can’t avoid a collision, stay calm and collected best you can. Oftentimes, swerving away from an animal can worsen the situation, causing you to lose control of the vehicle or collide with other drivers. If you’re about to hit an animal, brake firmly but don’t leave your lane. If it’s a large animal on the road, such as a deer or moose, gently steer towards its hindquarters to avoid their antlers breaking through your windshield. When in the driver’s seat, lean towards the door when you hit a large animal. Since animals tend to roll over the vehicle when hit head-on, you want to remain as far from the center as you can upon impact. If you or any passengers are hurt, call 9-1-1 immediately. To report a dead, injured, or sick animal in BC, contact RAPP.
Need a Towing Company in Vancouver?
While we hope you never face a collision with wildlife, our tow truck company can help in emergency roadside situations. If your car has been involved in a collision, our team at Mundie’s Towing and Recovery can assist with the safe transport of you and your vehicle. Reach out to our towing company today!