Every year, people become all too relaxed while driving through wildlife zones. Even with signs warning of common wild animals that cross the road, people prioritise their schedules over their own safety and that of the wildlife around them. However, the warning signs were put in place for a reason and should be taken seriously by drivers no matter where they’re going or what they’re doing. All drivers should follow basic road safety tips to keep themselves safe and avoid endangering animals.
Road Safety Tips to Avoid Killing Wildlife
Guest Post by Emily Folk
The best way to avoid killing wildlife on the road is to see them in time to react safely. Road signs are there to remind drivers that they’re passing through wildlife areas, but when drivers must also be aware of unmarked areas that animals are likely to inhabit. Pay attention to both sides of the road – not just the nearest shoulder – for movement or the colour of a hide that stands out from the surroundings. In unavoidable situations – such as a bird sitting on the road – give it time to fly or hop away if possible, especially large ones that could break a windshield. Additionally, extra caution should be taken on any road that borders woods or tall grass.
Use Headlights Proactively
Driving at night poses a greater risk of an accident due to lack of visibility, so take advantage of strong headlights. As long as no other cars are on the road, high beams should be used for the entire route and only be turned down if another car is approaching. The extra light will catch the reflections of an animals eyes along the road. This little act could prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths per year that happen on public roads.
Even without the high beams on, if an oncoming car’s lights blink or if a reflective sign seems to disappear and reappear — an animal may have crossed in front of them. Another two-lane road advantage is driving only in the left lane unless a car needs to pass to give more time to recognise animals on the side of the road.
Watch Your Speed
Keeping a safe speed may be the most reiterated advice for road safety, but it’s because speed plays such a huge role in a potentially dangerous scenario. Always keeping to the speed limit is a good start, but on many roads, that’s likely still too fast to react in time to avoid hitting an animal that pops out. Stick to a speed that would allow adequate time for a reaction to surprise animal crossings, and never allow other drivers to create a false sense of pressure to exceed the speed limit. Let other cars pass by or even pull over so they can pass.
No one wants to experience the heartbreak of injuring or killing an animal, but remember: sometimes it’s an accident. If, despite all precautions, a collision with an animal occurs, react in the safest way possible. Avoid swerving wildly that could cause a loss of control, a crash into a ditch or an accident with an oncoming car. Always approach any situation with an animal with the most caution.
Human technology and the modern lifestyle create dangers for wildlife in its own habitat, but safety road tips can decrease the chances of continual wildlife deaths and better the odds of driver safety on any road.
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