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Wildlife strikes can be deadly
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Recently there was an accident reported in the news that involved a wild turkey being hit on the road by a motorcyclist. The resulting fatal motorcycle accident was tragic. The motorcyclist lost control of the bike after hitting the turkey and hit a tractor trailer head on in the oncoming lane. The tractor trailer driver was not injured.

Not many of us consider the danger of hitting wildlife until the accident happens. Most of us fear hitting a large animal such as a deer, moose or bear which can easily be fatal accidents. Collisions with smaller animals like turkey, geese, foxes and skunks and racoons, can cause thousands of dollars in damage. Many fatalities occur when people attempt to swerve instead of hitting an animal. Police advise that if the animal is small (not a moose) you should hit it rather than risk loosing control while swerving, or trying to stop suddenly.

Overall the number of wildlife collisions has been increasing. In 1999, there were almost 9000 animal strikes in Ontario. In 2008 (the latest statistics) there were 12800 strikes. This is a huge increase. October to January is the most dangerous period while November is the most dangerous month for hitting animals. Personal injury is not uncommon, and deaths occur every year resulting from hitting wildlife. The cost of these accidents is estimated at $1billion.

Facts from the MTO:

  • There is an animal strike every 38 minutes in Ontario
  • 1/17 car accidents involve wild animals
  • The rate of car/animal accidents is increasing
  • Many people don’t report animal strikes to the police
  • Most occur in good weather
  • May and June, October – January see more accidents
  • Accidents happen at all hours of the day and night
  • You should always slow down and take extra caution in areas with wildlife warning signs. The signs are only put up where animal strikes are especially common.
  • If you see one deer slow down immediately as they tend to travel in groups

Take these steps to be safe:

  • Pay attention to roadside signs
  • Reduce speed in marked areas
  • Scan road sides and ditches for animal movement
  • Slow down where there are animals present
  • Drive defensively
  • Put your passengers to work watching for wildlife in ‘problem’ areas
  • Never take unsafe evasive actions, it is easy to lose control of a car at high speed either travelling into the ditch or oncoming traffic
  • Consider braking for large animals, honk your horn, flash your lights at the sign of animals.

If you hit an animal you may wish to pull over to see whether it is alive or not. If it is a large wounded animal like a moose or deer or bear, stay clear and call the police who will deal with the animal. If the animal is dead you can move it off the road fi that is safe or keep it if you like. You must report a deer, moose or bear to MNR if you keep them.

If you have damaged your car make sure it is safe to drive. If the damage is over $1000 you should call the police, or the MNR. If a person is injured call the police. Report the collision to your insurance company. These accidents are considered under the comprehensive portion of your insurance.

Read the MTo website contents here.

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 30, 2018 - 08:22:00 AM EST
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