In late September, deer and elk begin their annual migration to wintering grounds, and often have to cross roads and highways to get there. Here are 7 tips to help avoid a collision.
Between 2007-2017, ODOT documented 12,540 animal-vehicle collisions, including deer and elk.
Collisions with deer and elk tend to peak in October and November. So with the both the migration and breeding seasons coming up, here are a few tips for protecting you, and Oregon’s wildlife, while on the road.
DON’T SWERVE to avoid an animal. Instead, stay in your lane and try to maintain control of your car. Many serious crashes happen when drivers hit a tree or oncoming vehicle while swerving to avoid a collision with an animal.
Know when to be extra alert. While wildlife/vehicle collisions occur throughout the year – on any given day, at any given time and on any given road – most vehicle collisions occur:
Try to prevent collisions with these driving habits:
Be extra alert when roadside vegetation is thick. You may be able to see animal coming through an open field, but if the road is lined with dense vegetation you might not see an animal until just before a collision.
Remember, deer often travel in groups. If you see one animal running across the road, stop for a minute as others may follow.
Heed wildlife crossing signs. These can be easy to ignore if you’ve driven by them dozens of times and have never seen an animal crossing the road. But they there for a reason – they mark areas known to have had wildlife/vehicle collisions.
Consider buying a voucher for the Watch for Wildlife license plate. The sale of these plates will provide critical funds for projects that help wildlife migrate safely, such as wildlife crossings over or under busy highways. And they look pretty cool, too.
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