According to the Ministry of Transportation, the number of animal strikes on Ontario roads increased from 8,964 in 1999 to 12,791 in 2008. This is a 42% increase over 9 years. Wildlife collisions is a growing problem in Ontario, this is why we at HRC feel we should give out some helpful tips to think about next time you’re on the roads.
The yellow diamond sign will be located in high risk areas on roads where most wildlife collisions occur. Unless the sign has a specific speed limit attached to it, this sign means nothing but to be cautious and alert at all times. However, it is a very good practice to reduce your speed as it is easier to control your vehicle in case of emergency.
Speeding is the number one cause in vehicle collisions. This is because speeding:
- Reduces the ability to steer
- Extends distances required for full stop
- Increases the force of impact
Collisions are most likely to occur on clear nights, with good road conditions, and on straight stretches. This is the time people think it’s acceptable to speed, resulting in more collisions.
It’s always a good idea to think, “what if an animal ran in front of me right now?” doing this will make you more prepared if an animal were to run on to the road. It’s easier to react to a situation if you are already ready for it. Always expect the unexpected.
It’s also a good practice for drivers and passengers to watch for wild life. For example, drivers and passengers could watch for:
- Movement along sides of roads
- Shining eyes
- Flickering headlights of oncoming traffic (signifying animal ahead)
- Break lights ahead of you
- Road side reflectors disappearing and reappearing (Something moving in front of them)
It’s also a good practice to watch both sides of the road evenly.Most animal collisions occur when the animal comes on the road from the left side of the vehicle. Drivers usually pay more attention to the right side of the road because it is more illuminated by their headlights.
“Should I Swerve To Try To Dodge Animal?”
First of all, you have to be able to react quickly and think whether or not it is safe to attempt to swerve. There are some tricks if you encounter an animal, for example:
- Never take unsafe evasive actions
- Reduce speed in signed areas
- The slower you go, the easier it is to break
- Consider breaks over moving the steering wheel
- Honk/flash lights at animal to get them off the road
- Stay in the center lane of three lane highways to be as far away from ditches as possible
- Use high beams whenever safe
IN CASE OF MOOSE:
- Consider swerving, but ONLY if safe
- If collision is inevitable, get as low as possible in vehicle before collision
Moose can weigh up to 1200lbs and can crush the top of your vehicle. The lower you get prior to a collision can save you from injuries or death.
Car maintenance is also very important to reduce the risk of a collision. This includes:
- Head lights, signal lights, tail lights are cleaned and serviced often
- Windshield is always clean
- Seat belt is safe and worn AT ALL TIMES
Frequently Asked Questions
“What should I do id I see wildlife on the road?”
- SLOW DOWN
- Attempt to anticipate the animals movements
- Assume there is more than one animal (most animals travel in groups)
“What If Crash Is Inevitable?”
- Aim for sport on animal from direction it is coming from – not where it’s headed
- Look where you want to go – your eyes direct where your car goes
- Try for a glancing blow over a head-on hit
- Brake firmly and quickly, then look, then steer vehicle to strike at an angle
- Let up on break right before impact to lift the front of the vehicle, reducing chance of animal coming through windshield
“What Do I Do If I Hit An Animal?”
- Pull off road
- Turn on hazard lights
- Illuminate animal with head lights
- Warn other drivers
- [If you wish] approach animal to see if animal is injured or dead
- If injured, back off – may be dangerous
- [If you wish] drag the animal off road if safe and you are capable
- Inspect vehicle for damage
- Call 911 if more than $1000 worth of damages have been done
- If unsure about damages, call 911 anyway
- Call Ministry of Natural Resources to report where the animal has been struck
- Contact your insurance company
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