Nature in the Fast Lane
As fall approaches, so to does mating season, meaning many animal species are on the move. For many Albertans, Highways 63 and 881 provide a route through the pristine forests of Alberta and through the habitat of a variety of animal species. As wildlife traffic increases along these busy highways, animals can become a hazard to themselves and other drivers.
We’re sure that you either know of someone close to you hitting an animal on the road, or have been in a collision with local wildlife yourself. That’s not surprising as collisions with wildlife are common throughout Alberta with an annual 14,000 animal collisions in the province. Not only that, but stats show that over 50% of crashes on rural highways involve an animal. Many of us instinctively swerve or brake which creates additional dangers for other drivers on the road.
These are some high odds against drivers like you and me. So what are the best tips to avoid becoming part of these statistics?
- Avoid driving at dusk. One third of collisions involving animals occur in this timeframe.
- Use high beams whenever possible. Animals who are active at night will be visible due to their reflective eyes.
- Assume the presence of more than one animal. The most common wildlife struck in Alberta are deer (85%) and these animals travel in packs.
- Use common defensive driving techniques: follow the designated speed limit, visually scan the road well ahead, and make note of all animal crossing signs.