Wildlife Accident Safety: A Comprehensive Guide for Drivers

In the quiet hours of dawn and dusk, the natural world stirs, bringing with it the increased risk of wildlife encounters on the road. 

As we’ve discussed here before, safety on the road is a top priority for our company, and that includes being both vigilant and cautious when it comes to wildlife encounters.

For that reason, this latest article delves into the critical importance of wildlife accident safety, outlining why it matters and providing actionable guidance to minimize risks associated with wildlife incidents.

Why It’s Important

Collisions with wildlife are not mere inconveniences; they pose serious safety risks, including accidents, vehicle damage, injuries, and fatalities. The unpredictable nature of these encounters necessitates a proactive approach to safety, emphasizing the need for vigilance and preparedness at all times.

Furthermore, we carry both a legal obligation and an ethical duty to protect our wildlife, with each encounter presenting a unique opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to minimizing harm and preserving the delicate balance of our ecosystems.

Moreover, wildlife accidents can inflict significant financial damage, with vehicle repairs and operational downtime not only affecting our bottom line but also tarnishing our reputation — a reminder that the implications of such incidents extend far beyond the moment of impact.

Best Practices for Wildlife Accident Safety

To navigate the challenges of wildlife encounters on the road, we advocate for the following set of practices:

Being Extra Vigilant During Twilight Hours: Wildlife is most active at dawn and dusk, making these periods particularly high-risk for encounters. 

Therefore, heightened awareness and caution are crucial during these times, especially in known wildlife crossing areas.

Moderating Your Speed: Slowing down in wildlife-prone areas allows more time to react to unexpected animal crossings, significantly reducing the risk of accidents.

Using High Beams: Utilizing high beams when driving in low-light conditions allows you to better spot wildlife on or near the roadway.

Furthermore, ensure to switch to low beams for oncoming traffic to avoid blinding other drivers.

Staying In Your Lane: Swerving can lead to more dangerous situations, including collisions with other vehicles. 

If an animal crossing is imminent, braking in a controlled manner within your lane is often the safest course of action.

Refraining From Feeding Wildlife: Feeding wildlife near roadways can increase the likelihood of animal-vehicle encounters. 

Keep both them and yourself safe by not encouraging their presence near roads.

Heeding Warning Signs: Wildlife crossing signs are placed in high-activity areas. 

Paying attention to these warnings and adjusting your driving accordingly can literally save lives.

Scanning the Roadside: Regularly checking the road’s shoulders for signs of wildlife is key, as animals may enter the roadway unexpectedly.

Honking Your Horn: A short blast of the horn may deter wildlife from entering the roadway.

However, use it judiciously to avoid startling other drivers.

Braking Carefully: If a collision seems inevitable, braking smoothly can lessen the impact. 

Swerving may lead to more severe accidents.

Prioritizing Your Safety: While we strive to protect wildlife, human safety must remain our top priority. 

Risking severe accidents to avoid accidentally colliding with animals can result in even greater harm.

Reporting Incidents: Any collision with wildlife should be promptly reported to facilitate vehicle inspections, repairs, and to inform future safety measures.

Our drivers are the front line of our safety efforts, embodying our commitment to responsible and ethical driving practices. 

To support this mission, we offer training and resources aimed at equipping our team with the knowledge and skills needed to prevent wildlife accidents effectively. 

For more information regarding this, feel free to contact our safety and compliance department. 

We are here to support you in ensuring the safety of all road users and wildlife alike.