Driving and Alberta Wildlife

Vince L. | August 28, 2014
Alberta is home to an abundant amount of wildlife. Animals native to Alberta have adapted to the cold and harsh winters that we experience.

This means that many of these species are active even during the winter season, often this can cause problems for motorists, and it is not uncommon for collisions with wildlife to be reported.

Mammals such as deer and moose are attracted to the highway since it is the path of least resistance. Like humans, instead of crossing a river or traversing a large hill it is much easier to use the road ways. In 2012 alone there were 14,036 animal related collisions reported.

Alberta Driver Education & Training Inc is a Calgary driving school that believes that although we cannot eliminate this aspect of modern day transportation we can learn preventative measures that can help us reduce our chances of collision with wildlife.

The key to preventing wildlife collisions is understanding the environment and the animals themselves. In Alberta many of the wildlife species have adapted to their surroundings so well that they are resourceful enough to rear their young in winter conditions. This is especially dangerous as winter road conditions can make driving difficult enough, when coupled with an abundance of wildlife we can understand why the statistics for wildlife collision are so high. Statistically the highest probability of collision with wildlife happens during the month of November.

During this time many Alberta's wildlife is in mating season, the animals will need to travel vast distances in order to find mates, many of our major road ways cross their natural migration routes. Make sure to take care when travelling during this time, by understanding the risks we can help prevent collision. Topics like these are covered during our drivers ed program and in-car driver training.

Tips for avoiding wildlife collisions:

  1. Highway sections that frequently see animals crossing are preceded by wildlife indicator signs, keep your eyes out for these signs.

  2. Reduce your speed when you see animals or wildlife crossing signs.

  3. Use your high beams when possible, this will enable you to see the animals from further away. Sometimes the animal's eyes can reflect this light making it easier for the driver to spot them.

  4. Animals tend to travel at dusk and dawn, during these times use extra caution when travelling on the highway.

  5. If you do see animals on the road way use caution, they can be unpredictable and may attack. Stay inside your vehicle, use short blasts on the horn to try to get them to moveaway from the danger. Also be prepared to come to a complete stop.

  6. Keep your windshield and headlights clean to boost visibility.

  7. Slow down when navigating curves in the road that can block your view of what's ahead.

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