It’s time to remind motorists to drive safely in wildlife-prone areas. In the Estes Valley at least four elk or deer have been hit by vehicles just in the last two weeks. This is a tragedy for both humans and the animals. The cows/does that were hit were most likely pregnant with calves/fawns. Just by being aware while driving, you can help prevent damage to your vehicle and/or help save the life of an elk, deer or baby. Slow down, be aware and save lives.
A large deer or animal can cause great damage to a vehicle, and more importantly, to motorists. We want to continue to remind motorists to drive carefully, in wildlife-prone areas and elsewhere.
Wildlife zone driving safety tips
First and foremost, slow down! Keeping your speed in check gives you a better chance of stopping in time if an animal darts into the road. Obey all speed limits, traffic signs and regulations.
Watch for wildlife in and near the road at dawn, dusk, and in the first few hours after darkness. Keep in mind that where there is one animal, there are probably others—young animals following their mother or male animals pursuing a female.
Wear seatbelts and limit distractions while driving.
Heed animal warning signs. Be alert for the potential of wildlife, particularly where wildlife warning signs are posted.
Actively scan all sides of the road as you drive and look for any signs of wildlife. One potential sign of wildlife is glowing or red eyes that become visible as vehicle headlights bounce off the eyes of animals.
Adjust driving speeds if necessary to help reduce the chance and impact of an animal collision.
Remember that many accidents are not due to colliding with wildlife but are the result of driving into another car or truck in the opposite lane while trying to avoid colliding with the animal.
Herd animals such as deer and elk travel in groups. If you see one deer, there is a strong likelihood that others may be nearby or in other locations along the road.
Use your vehicle’s high beams at night to view the roadway ahead when there is no oncoming traffic.