Road Safety

Collisions with wildlife

Deer looking at headlights

Colliding with a wild animal can be catastrophic. You and your family could be seriously hurt and your car could be wrecked.

Here’s the big picture:  According to Manitoba Public Insurance claims data, over the last five years Manitobans have reported about 11,000 crashes per year involving animals, injuring an average of about 350 people and costing over $46 million per year in property damage and injuries.  During this five-year period, three people have been killed in crashes caused by an animal on the road. (2012-2016)

Oh deer!

Manitoba Public Insurance claims data shows more than six in ten collisions with animals involve deer (2012-2016). More specifically, an average of 6,600 deer-vehicle crashes take place in Manitoba each year, including about 620 in the Winnipeg area.

Expect the unexpected

According to Manitoba Public Insurance claims data, October and November are the two worst months for deer/vehicle collisions in Manitoba.

Two maps ─ Winnipeg and rural Manitoba ─ are available for Manitoba motorists to see and prepare for those areas with the highest concentration of deer crashes (hot spots).

Tips to help keep you safe:

Slow down

  • When you see wildlife crossing signs
  • Especially at dawn, dusk and at night
  • 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 traffic coming from the other way 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 an animal...

  • Don’t touch it—it may hurt you
  • Move your car off the road if possible, and call the police or have someone call for you

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

For more information on collisions with wildlife in Canada, click here:

Wildlife Roadsharing Resource Centre