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B.C. is wildlife country: Here’s how to drive safely this summer

Road Safety at Work reminds drivers to be mindful of animals on the highway

As West Coast travellers hit the road this summer, it’s important to remember that the province is also wildlife country.

Road Safety at Work and the B.C. Government remind drivers to be mindful of animals on the highway, whether driving for work or pleasure.

According to RSW, approximately 9,900 wildlife/vehicle collisions occur each year in British Columbia – likely a low estimation due to under-reporting.

And it’s not only wildlife that is at risk.

A male elk can weigh more than 300 kilograms (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 veer off the road or hit another vehicle.

Other animals, like deer, may panic when they see your headlights and freeze in the road, the Province notes. If you see an animal, slow down until you are well past them.

The risk also increases at this time of year due to seasonal habits based on feeding and reproductive cycles, and while you can’t control what an animal may do, there are things you, as a driver, can do to prevent collision.

  • Remain alert during peak wildlife hours – collisions are most common in the hours around dusk and dawn when wildlife is more active and light conditions are lower.
  • Watch for animal crossing signs
  • Slow down when you see an animal on the side of the road. Others may be nearby, including young creatures joining their parents to find new habitat.
  • Pay attention to other drivers. Someone flashing their headlights may be signaling that they’ve seen an animal.
  • Some animals, like moose, often attempt to escape from a car by continuing to run along the road. This may pose a hazard to other drivers, so if it’s safe to do so, pull over or slow to a very low speed until the animal leaves the road.
  • Plan routes to avoid key wildlife areas during high-risk times or choose safer travel times.

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Carolyn Grant

About the Author: Carolyn Grant

I have been with the Kimberley Bulletin since 2001 and have enjoyed every moment of it.
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