Be On Alert For Deer And Elk Near Roadways
By: Kris Hazelton
Cars and deer/elk are a lethal combination. During the deer and elk mating season, which runs from October through December, there is a dramatic increase in the movement of these animals.
Rick Spowart, Colorado Division of Wildlife Manager tells us that he has seen many car vs. deer/elk accidents in our area lately and he wants drivers to be aware of the situation to help avoid any accidents which may result in human and animal injury or even death.
When mating season comes, mule deer bucks and elk bulls will chase females with little regard for their own safety. During this time of year, they have one thing in mind above all others and their desire to mate can send them just about anywhere, including into the path of oncoming cars.
Also, when daylight saving time ends at the end of October, more commuters are on the road at dusk, a peak time for deer/elk activity.
When those annual events coincide, the result is especially risky for deer/elk and motorists alike.
The last quarter of the year typically sees a marked increase in deer and elk vs-car collisions. October, November and December have the highest incidents of these animal car collisions.
These animals can be unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights and fast-moving vehicles and they often dart right into traffic.
There are steps you can take to decrease the likelihood of being involved in a deer/elk vehicle collision.
Deer and elk often move in groups. If you see one, there are likely more in the vicinity and you should slow down your vehicle.
Always wear your seat belt and stay awake, alert and sober.
When driving at night, use high-beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of the animals on or near the roadway.
Be aware that many people will flash their lights to warn oncoming cars of wildlife in or near the roadway. This is especially helpful when driving in the canyons. Pay attention to these warnings.
Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest-risk times for deer/elk vehicle collisions.
Brake firmly when you notice an animal in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer/elk and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
In the event your vehicle strikes a deer/elk try to avoid going near or touching the animal. A frightened and wounded animal can hurt you or further injure itself. If the animal is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should call the police immediately.
By slowing down and staying alert, we can help to avoid many car vs. deer/elk collisions.