Collisions with wildlife

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A collision with wildlife can cause serious injury or death to vehicle occupants and the animal, and can result in significant vehicle damage. Wild animals can be found on roadways anywhere, even within cities. Peak wildlife times are from dusk to dawn in the fall.

You can take steps to avoid collisions with wildlife. Watch our 60 Second Driver video on Wildlife and be sure to read the tips below.

And remember: wearing your seatbelt is one of the best ways to prevent injury in any collision.

Drive defensively

Keep yourself safer by driving defensively. Maintain a safety zone around your vehicle, so there is room between your car and others on the road, and have an escape route. An escape route is a plan for where you can move if the road in front of you is suddenly blocked. You can learn more in our 60 Second Driver – Defensive Driving video.

Be sure to anticipate dangerous situations – be extremely cautious if you are in an area with a high concentration of deer crashes (see the Winnipeg and rural Manitoba deer collision hot spots) or driving at a time of year with a high collision rate (October and November are the two worst months for deer/vehicle collisions).

Tips to help keep you safe:

Slow down:

  • Be cautious when you see wildlife crossing signs.
  • Be alert at dawn, dusk and at night.
  • Maintain caution where brush and tall grass grow near the road.
  • Drive at a speed at which you will be able to stop within the zone of your headlights.

Watch carefully:

  • Scan the roadside for animals – get your passengers to help.
  • Watch for the reflection of headlights in the eyes of a deer, or a dark silhouette.
  • Use your high beams at night but remember to dim them for oncoming traffic and when following another vehicle closely.

If an animal crosses:

  • Dim your headlights—your brights may cause a deer to freeze on the road.
  • Slow down and be prepared to stop.
  • Blow your horn to scare the animal away.
  • Avoid hard swerving—you may lose control or crash into another vehicle.
  • Brake firmly to reduce the impact between an animal and your vehicle.

If you hit a large animal:

  • Don’t touch it – it may hurt you.
  • Move your car off the road if possible, and call the police if necessary.

For more information on collisions with wildlife in Canada, visit the Wildlife Roadsharing Resource Centre.