By David Klassen
November is typically the worst month in Manitoba for deer-vehicle collisions, so RCMP are reminding motorists to take necessary precautions while behind the wheel.
With nightfall coming earlier and road conditions changing, wildlife are very active. Many species of wildlife are migrating and mating at this time of year, which means that they will encounter roadways more frequently, increasing the risk of a collision with a motor vehicle.
According to RCMP, there is an average of 6,800 wildlife-vehicle collisions taking place in Manitoba every year.
Police offer the following tips to help avoid collisions and get home safely:
- Be aware of surroundings — heavily wooded areas, for example, provide more cover for wildlife, and they are likely to be in the area
- Look for wildlife crossing signs
- Be prepared for the sudden appearance of wildlife on the roadway
- Slow down – drive at a speed that will allow you to stop suddenly
- Scan the road and surrounding area for animals, especially looking for the reflection of the headlights in the eyes of an animal
- Dawn, dusk and night are when wildlife is the least visible, so drivers need to be especially vigilant
- If you see an animal, maintain your course; swerving could cause you to lose control of the vehicle or veer into oncoming traffic
- Engage your horn to frighten an animal out of the way
- If you cannot avoid colliding with an animal, let up on the brakes at the last moment, as this causes the nose of the vehicle to rise, reducing the risk of the animal coming toward or through the windshield
- Always buckle up!
— With files from Manitoba RCMP