Alberta Fish and Wildlife officers are urging the public to step up to help prevent collisions with animals.
Roads attract wildlife because they provide a travel corridor, easy access to vegetation and in the winter, a source of salt.
Collisions with larger animals, like moose, deer or elk, can result in extensive vehicle damage and serious injury or death. According to the province, over one-third of collisions involving animals occur between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.
"Wildlife collisions aren't an uncommon occurrence," explained Brendan Cox with Alberta Fish and Wildlife. "Property damage and loss of wildlife was estimated to cost $200 million in 2012."
Officers advise drivers to reduce their speed at night and around water or on tree-lined roads. Scan the road and ditches for animals and use high beams when possible; deer eyes glow when struck by light.
If drivers see wildlife on the road:
- Look for more than one animal, some travel in groups.
- Brake firmly if an animal is in the vehicle's path but do not swerve to avoid it.
- Honk in a series of short bursts to make animals move out of the way.
- Leave plenty of room when driving around an animal on or near the road, a frightened animal may run in any direction. When swerving around the animal, try to aim towards the rear of the animal as they'll probably keep crossing.
If an animal has been hit, contact 310-0000 to be directed to the nearest Fish and Wildlife office or transportation department.