Keeping an eye out for wildlife on the highway while you’re driving can prevent hazards to you both. And to help you in your travels, we’ve compiled some handy tips on how you can treat all of B.C.’s wild creatures with care and improve your safety while driving on the highway:
- Be extra careful in the early morning, or at dusk and during the night. These times are when animals are most likely to be on the road.
- Slow down and look ahead into the ditch for movement, or for the reflection of animal eyes in your headlights.
- Some animals, especially deer, may panic when they see your headlights and may freeze on the road. If you see an animal, slow down until you are well past.
- Moose will often attempt to escape from a vehicle by continuing to run along the road. This may pose a hazard to other drivers. If it is safe to do so, pull over or slow to a very low speed until the animal leaves the road. Never honk at a moose — they may charge at your vehicle!
- Don’t feed wildlife at any time. We need to keep wild animals wild and this is a great place we can start.
- Pay attention. If you notice wildlife fencing or overpasses, use your road sense.
- Many animals travel in groups. If you see one on the road, slow down – there may be more following.
- Watch for the wildlife warning signs, which are posted at areas where animals are likely to be on the road.
During a routine trip down Westside Road near Kelowna, one of our ministry staff got a bit of a wildlife surprise. Nine bighorn sheep were gathered at the edge of the road, overlooking the lake! Have a look yourself at the video below, or watch on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gsm_xnCegeI
Part of being a responsible driver is being mindful of wildlife on B.C. highways. The number one rule is slow down! If you are travelling at a slower speed, you will more likely to react in time to prevent a wildlife collision. Be sure to keep these tips in mind next time you head out to cruise the “open” road. If you’re interested in reading about what the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure is doing to protect drivers and wildlife, check out these blogs.