November is the peak month for vehicle collisions across Alberta – including those with wildlife. In 2014, there was an average of 31 wildlife vehicle collisions in our province each day!
The Cost of Collisions
According to a 2012 Report from the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, property damage and loss of wildlife is estimated to cost over $200 million per year across Canada.
Don’t become a statistic
But it’s not just money that’s a factor in wildlife collisions – there are lives at stake. Alberta Transportation’s 2014 Collisions Statistics report:
- 48 per cent of all rural traffic collisions involve wildlife. Fortunately, only 4 per cent of these collisions involve human casualties.
- Between 2006 and 2014 a total of 130,969 Wildlife Vehicle Collisions took place across Alberta.
- Between 2006 and 2014 there were a total of 48 human fatalities and 4,251 injuries resulting from Wildlife Vehicle Collisions in our province.
These are just the collisions that are reported. Vehicle collisions with smaller wildlife, which do not cause vehicle damage or human injuries, often go unreported. Nevertheless this also represents a serious loss to our wildlife species.
Tips to help share the road
There are many tips that can help reduce the chance of collision with wildlife. Some include:
- Reducing your speed and use caution in areas with wildlife warning signs or animal crossing signs.
- Being especially careful at dawn and dusk when animals are most active.
- Using the high beams of your headlights whenever possible. It will enable you to see animals sooner. Sometimes, an animal’s eyes will reflect the light.
- Slowing down if you see an animal on the roadway — animal behaviour can be unpredictable and they sometimes travel in groups. Honk in a series of short bursts to encourage the animal to leave the area. Be prepared to stop.
Moose are more difficult to see at night since their coats are dark in colour and their eyes are higher than most headlight beams, so there is no reflected eye shine to alert drivers of their presence.
The Alberta government helps reduce the number of collisions with wildlife by installing fences, warning signs, roadside reflectors, and by maintaining vegetation control along highways.
These measures help to reduce the number of collisions in our province, and they work best when drivers Slow Down and Stay Alert on our roads.