Skip to content

Creston drivers urged to remain alert, prevent wildlife collisions

Collisions with wildlife hits its peak during summer months
Deer are unpredictable when crossing highways.

Summer is a peak period for wildlife activity, and drivers in the Kootenays are urged to be on alert for animals on highways.

Every year in B.C. approximately 9,900 vehicle collisions with wildlife are reported, according to ICBC. The actual numbers may be much higher due to under-reporting. Collisions with deer and moose increase exponentially in June and July.

“Wildlife collisions often happen with little or no warning and are traumatic for everyone involved,” said Trace Acres, program director for Road Safety at Work. “Drivers, their passengers, and animals can be injured or killed by the initial impact.”

A male elk can weigh over 700 pounds (300 kg) and a male moose can weigh up to 1,500 pounds (700 kg). The force of impact with such a large animal can cause serious injuries.

The risk increases at this time of year due to wildlife changes in seasonal habits.

"Understanding the patterns of wildlife activity and adjusting driving habits accordingly is crucial for preventing these potentially fatal encounters," said Acres.

Due to feeding and reproductive cycles, deer and moose expand from their normal travel areas and cross roads more frequently in the summer months.

Drivers should remain vigilant during dawn and dusk — from 6 to 8 a.m. and 5 to 8 p.m. — when animals are most active and light conditions are low. Plan routes to avoid key wildlife areas during these high-risk times, or simply choose a safer time of day to travel.

Collisions often occur on roadways near the edge of forested habitat and open forage sites, such as green belts, parks, fields, and golf courses. Remember - animals are unpredictable. When they appear to be crossing or leaving the highway, they may suddenly turn around and run in front of a vehicle.

“You can't control what wildlife does, but you can take steps to reduce your risk of a collision,” Acres said.

Drivers are advised to watch for animal crossing signs and slow down when an animal is spotted on the side of the road. Others may be nearby.

It is also important to pay attention to other drivers. Someone flashing their headlights or stepping on the brakes may be signalling that they’ve seen an animal.