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Information Bulletin - Wildlife on Alberta's Roads


October 4, 2007

Wildlife on Alberta’s roads is a danger to drivers

Edmonton… Wild animals on Alberta’s roads can be a hazard to drivers. Ninety per cent of animal-vehicle collisions occur in rural areas of the province, but there are still urban areas close to parks, reservoirs, river valleys, wooded areas and open space where wildlife frequently cross. In 2005, about 11 per cent of reported vehicle collisions involved animals, mostly wildlife, and resulted in four fatalities and 439 injuries among drivers and their passengers. 

Highway right-of-ways provide easy travel and roadside forage for animals and the salt on winter roads attracts wildlife. Many species are more active during dawn and dusk, especially deer, elk and moose during their fall mating season. Driving visibility may be reduced and traffic volume can be high during this same time period. Over the past five years, more than one-third of collisions involving animals occurred between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Reduce the chance of a collision with wildlife.

  • Pay attention to all wildlife warning signs and drive accordingly.
  • Drive at a speed appropriate to road conditions.
  • Reduce speed at night, especially on unfamiliar rural roads near water or lined with trees.
  • Scan the road and ditches ahead for animals, especially when travelling at dawn or dusk.
  • Slow down in a curve, when reaching the crest of a hill or in wildlife-populated areas.
  • Use high beams when possible. Deer’s eyes will glow when they catch light but larger animals such as moose may not be as easy to see.
  • Remember that, at night, lights from oncoming traffic make it difficult to see an animal on the road.
  • Improve visibility by keeping the vehicle's windshield and headlights clean.

There are a number of precautions to take if you see wildlife on the road.

  • Look for more than one animal – some species travel in groups.
  • Brake firmly if an animal is in the vehicle's path but avoid swerving. However, if a very large animal, such as a moose, is in your path and you cannot stop in time consider swerving in a safe direction. A collision with a moose, which can weigh up to 500 kg (1,200 lbs), carries a significant risk of injury or death to motorists and passengers.
  • Honk in a series of short bursts to encourage animals to move out of the way.
  • Leave plenty of room when driving around an animal on or near a road – a frightened animal may run in any direction.

If you are involved in an animal collision:

  • report all collisions to your insurance company and police service;
  • contact the nearest Sustainable Resource Development office in cases where an animal is injured or poses a threat to public safety (dial 310-0000 for nearest office); and,
  • To have roadkill removed, please contact the nearest regional office of Infrastructure and Transportation by calling 310-0000.

Improving traffic safety is one of the actions under Premier Ed Stelmach’s plan to provide Albertans with safe and secure communities. Other priorities for the government are to govern with integrity and transparency, improve Albertans’ quality of life, manage growth pressures, and build a stronger Alberta. For information about traffic safety, please contact the Office of Traffic Safety at 780-422-8839 or visit http://www.saferoads.com/.

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For more information, please contact:

Eileen McDonald, Communications
Infrastructure and Transportation
780-422-0842

Darcy Whiteside, Communications
Sustainable Resource Development
780-427-8636

To call toll free within Alberta dial 310-0000.