Animals are forced to cross roads and highways in search of food, water, cover and mates placing them in danger of vehicles driving down the road. The number one way to avoid collisions with wildlife while on the road is to slow down. In Oregon, the majority of vehicle-wildlife crashes occur September through November. A collision with some form of wildlife occurs on average every 39 minutes.
Below are some important tips to avoid a collision with wildlife.
- Follow the posted speed limits. Often animals are hit because people are simply driving too fast. Slow down to increase your reaction time to stop if an animal or pedestrian crosses in front of your vehicle.
- Watch for wildlife near the road at dawn, dusk and in the first few hours after darkness. Many animals are out wandering during these times and if there is one, chances are there are more nearby.
- Be cautious on two-lane roads bordered by woods, fields or where streams cross under roads. Slow to 45 mph or less in these areas where most animal/vehicle collisions occur with road-side vegetation.
- Scan the road as you drive. Staying aware of your surroundings can help reduce the chances of a crash with not just animals but also bicyclists, children and slow-moving vehicles.
- Do not throw trash out car windows. Trash and discarded food pollutes the environment and creates a hazard by attracting wildlife to the roads.
- Lower your dashboard lights to make it easier to spot the eyes of an animal in your headlights.
Approximately 200 motorists die in the United States each year from car-wildlife collisions. Stay safe on Oregon roads and watch for wildlife crossing and slow down when necessary.