Danger on BC roads for drivers and wildlife

Deer WideA recent story on TheProvince.com is warning drivers in British Columbia to beware as rutting season for deer statistically coincides with a peak in wildlife-driver collisions.

The article explains that “according to figures from the Insurance Corp. of B.C., from 2008 to 2012 the southern interior saw 21,800 crashes involving animals (both domestic and wildlife) resulting in six fatalities and 850 people injured.

“Compare that to the Lower Mainland, where there were 4,870 incidents, resulting in 178 injuries and no recorded fatalities.”

It’s an important fact: this time of year, biology drives wildlife to cross into new territories, travel and prepare for winter. Unfortunately, the article did not provide much advice to drivers on how to either avoid or be ready to see wildlife on major roadways.

In addition to the typical defensive driving tips – look ahead, check road sides and keep your eyes on the road – there are simple and inexpensive devices such as deer whistles that can save lives.

The devices also rely on biology (and a bit of physics). Attached to the grill or front of a car, the air passing through the whistle creates an ultrasonic or other high-frequency waves, which in theory will warn deer or other wildlife of an impending presence. A deer whistle may not prevent every collision, but it’s a tool available to help reduce risks.

We’re encouraging the government of British Columbia to also look to other jurisdictions for potential solutions, such as bridges or tunnels.

The best defence for a driver, however, is to simply be aware that deer are on the move. Being prepared to slow or stop a vehicle will reduce the risk of damage to drivers – and our treasured wildlife.

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Established in 1953, The Fur-Bearers is a charitable, non-partisan organization whose goals are to end the commercial fur trade and promote solutions for wildlife coexistence in communities. Your donation is tax-deductible.

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