With winter approaching and the current hunting season in full stride, the Ontario Provincial Police are warning motorists to be extra careful of potential wildlife roaming on the highway and local roads. The warning comes after several OPP investigations found that in some regions, wildlife-related crashes make up nearly half of all vehicular accidents.
In the span of just one weekend in the North Bay region, the OPP responded to 27 collisions, 12 of which involved deer or other wildlife. Outside of London in Middlesex County, police responded to more than 35 deer-related collisions within the first 10 days of November. In the past six weeks, two bears were struck and killed on rural highways in the Ottawa Valley. And over one November weekend in Manitoulin, the OPP responded to 10 deer-related accidents.
To put these numbers into perspective, the OPP issued a report this past summer stating that there are about 10,000 collisions between Ontario drivers and wild animals ever year.
And although municipalities are working toward making roads safer for both drivers and wildlife (by installing fences and jump-out gates along highways) the OPP encourages drivers to take extra precautions this time of the year.
The OPP released the following tips earlier this month:
- Slow down, use eye lead time, and be aware when you are in an area that has wildlife, especially if signs indicating animal crossings are posted.
- Use high beams where possible; this will allow you to see an animal and stop in time to avoid hitting it.
- Deer often move in groups. If you see one, know there are likely more in the vicinity.
- Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane.
- Stay in control if hitting an animal is unavoidable, and don’t veer for deer. Many serious crashes occur when drives swerve to avoid a deer, and subsequently hit another vehicle, or lose control of their own.