Stay safe during wildlife collision season
Dec. 5, 2017
The fall/winter season is a busy time of year for wildlife. While we always recommend keeping an eye out, your chances of colliding with a wild animal increase from October to January. (In the spring, wildlife collisions also increase between May and June.)
Think it can’t happen to you? Check out the statistics1:
- Every 38 minutes in Canada, there’s 1 collision between a motor vehicle and a wild animal.
- 89% of collisions with wildlife happen on two-lane roads just outside cities and towns.
- 86% of wildlife collisions happen in on warm weather days.
If you’re planning any sort of travel this winter, make sure you’re watching for deer, moose, elk and other wild animals – both big and small.
8 things to keep in mind
- Watch for the signs
Your province government will put up yellow wildlife signs at active locations along the highway – so it’s a safe bet that there are animals in the area. When you see the sign, slow down and be on the lookout for animals.
- Dusk and dawn are risky times
Under the cover of darkness and as the sun is waking up, animals love this time of day. Keep an eye out for activity.
- Drive for the conditions
When you’re driving in the winter, lower your speed and give yourself lots of room to stop. We also recommend putting good winter tires on your car – they’ll give you the traction you need to react to hazards on the road.
- But also drive carefully in all weather
Most people take care and reduce their speed at night and during rough conditions. On warm days, however, you might start to relax – and that’s a mistake. Research shows that the majority of wildlife collisions actually happen in nice weather, when drivers are feeling more confident and less careful. Make sure that you’re always keep an eye out for animals.
- Look for movement on the road
Animals could be anywhere – on the road or the shoulder, or in the ditch. Keep a look out in all weather and ask your passengers to help you do the same. Take extra special care on long straight stretches, near creeks that intersect with roads and places that seem like a good habitat. Make sure you’re paying attention to both sides of the road.
- Headlights reflect off animal’s eyes
This is usually a good way to spot most animals – except for moose. They’re really tall, so you won’t be able to see their eyes. Use your high beams whenever possible.
- Plan ahead for problems
Think about how you would handle unexpected hazards and make a basic reaction plan. It might not help avoid a collision, but it will give you some steps to work with. This is a good exercise to do with teenage drivers to help them get comfortable behind the wheel.
- Think: is it safe to swerve?
The answer is: not always. Especially in the winter, it’s easy to lose control of your vehicle while trying to get out of the way. You could hit a patch of ice and end up in the ditch, or find yourself in the path of an oncoming vehicle. If you do see an animal, slow down as safely as you can and put on your hazard lights to alert the cars behind you.
Get insurance protection
We know that even if you do everything right, you could still have a run in with an animal. And that’s where we come in. When you sign up for an SGI CANADA personal auto insurance policy, you can choose a basic option like comprehensive coverage or all perils coverage. Among other things, these coverages will help repair your vehicle after a wildlife collision.
Ask your SGI CANADA insurance broker for more information today.
- Information source: wildlifecollisions.ca.