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Boundary/Kootenay drivers urged to be on alert to prevent wildlife collisions

Contributor
By Contributor
June 23rd, 2024

As BC enters a peak period for wildlife activity, Road Safety at Work urges drivers in the Southern Interior to be on alert for animals on highways.

Every year in B.C. some 9,900 vehicle collisions with wildlife are reported, according to ICBC.

The actual numbers may be much higher due to under-reporting. Collisions with deer often increase at this time of year, and with moose in June and July.

“Wildlife collisions often happen with little or no warning and are traumatic for everyone involved,” explains Trace Acres, Program Director for Road Safety at Work, which aims to prevent work-related crashes. “Drivers, their passengers, and animals can be injured or killed by the initial impact.”

A male elk can weigh more than 300 kg (700 lbs) and a male moose can weigh up to 700 kg (1,500 lbs). The force of a collision with such a large animal can cause serious injuries when drivers lose control of their vehicle and go off the road or hit another vehicle.

The risk increases at this time of year due to wildlife seasonal habits that are based on feeding and reproductive cycles. Deer and moose can change their normal travel area and cross roads more often.  Wildlife collisions are more common during dawn and dusk — from 6 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. — when animals are most active and light conditions are low.

Collisions often occur on highways and roads connecting rural and suburban areas, and near good habitat and forage sites such as green belts, parks, fields, and golf courses.

Steps to help prevent wildlife collisions

Animals are unpredictable. When they appear to be leaving the road they may suddenly turn around and run in front of you.

“You can’t control what wildlife does, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of a collision,” Acres says.

Drivers are advised to:

  • Remain alert during peak wildlife hours
  • Watch for animal crossing signs
  • Slow down when you see an animal on the side of the road. Others may be nearby.
  • Pay attention to other drivers. Someone flashing their headlights may be signaling that they’ve seen an animal.
  • Plan routes to avoid key wildlife areas during high-risk times or choose safer travel times.

“Understanding the patterns of wildlife activity and adjusting driving habits accordingly is crucial for preventing these potentially fatal encounters,” Acres adds.

Driving for work is dangerous

For the hundreds of thousands of British Columbians who drive as part of their job, wildlife are just one of the many hazards they face on the road.

Driving may be the most dangerous thing they do at work. Vehicle crashes are the leading cause of traumatic work-related deaths in B.C. Yet most crashes can be prevented.

When employees drive on the job full time, part time, or occasionally, their employers are legally responsible for training them in safe driving procedures.

For more tips on driving safely for work or pleasure, and for resources employers can use, visit RoadSafetyAtWork.ca.

This post was syndicated from https://thenelsondaily.com
Categories: EducationGeneral