Fall Brings Greater Risk to Colorado Motorists and Wildlife
As November begins and daylight saving time ends (Nov. 6), 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 challenging time for wildlife with shorter days and more traffic on the road at dusk,” said Travis Long, Hunter Education Coordinator for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “We ask drivers to take extra caution to protect themselves and our big game animals. Deer, in particular, are most active at dusk and are also dealing with the distraction of peak mating season currently. They are more mobile, more active and a greater risk for motorists. As daylight visibility begins diminishing, be vigilant in awareness of your surroundings while driving.”
From 2005-2015 vehicle/wildlife collisions averaged close to 300 a year in Jefferson County. 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. 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.
Information used in this article was from Colorado Parks and Wildlife including Colorado Department of Transportation.