Fall Brings Greater Risk To Colorado Motorists And Wildlife
As November begins and daylight saving time ends (November 2), Colorado motorists face a higher risk of being involved in a wildlife-related accident.
According to the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), November sees more car accidents involving wildlife than any other month.
“Fall is a particularly dangerous season for motorists and wildlife,” said Colorado Division of Wildlife (DOW) Hunter Education Coordinator Mark Cousins. “Many people are now commuting at dusk when visibility is poor and when many of our big game animals are most active. Deer are extremely vulnerable to being struck this time of year because this is their peak mating season. They are more mobile, easily distracted and more likely to be crossing roadways.”
From 1993 through 2005, 31,824 wildlife/vehicle collisions were reported on Colorado’s roads. According to CDOT records, motor vehicle accidents involving wildlife rank as the third leading cause for crashes behind speeding and inattentive driving. These statistics include severe property damage, injuries and fatalities.
Wildlife-related accidents can happen anywhere in Colorado, however, drivers should be especially cautious when traveling through the following “high-risk” areas:
I-70 (Floyd Hill, Mt. Vernon Canyon and Eagle)
US 285 (Morrison)
Highway 160 (Durango to Pagosa Springs and Durango to Mancos)
Highway 550 (north of Durango and from Montrose to Ouray)
I-25 (Castle Rock to Larkspur)
Highway 82 (Glenwood Springs to Marble)
Highway 36 (Boulder to Lyons)
Highway 93 (Golden to Boulder)
While some collisions may be unavoidable, motorists can reduce the likelihood of an accident by taking the following precautions:
• Slow Down! Driving more slowly increases reaction time and reduces the chance of a collision.
• Stay Alert while driving at dusk and dawn. This is when many of Colorado’s wildlife are the most active and are likely to be crossing roadways.
• Scan Ahead and watch for movement along roadsides. When driving at night, watch for shining eyes in headlights. Always look and be prepared for more than one animal.
• Obey Traffic Signs and watch for wildlife warning signs.
Drivers who are involved in a wildlife/vehicle collision should report the accident to the Colorado State Patrol by calling *CSP (star key and 277). The location of the crash and the type of wildlife hit will be recorded for state records.