While vehicle collisions with wildlife can happen at any time of the year, mating season and the migration of animals from late fall through early winter can increase this risk.
“We do see the number of wildlife collisions happening increase kind of in the last three months of the year. October, November, December tend to be among our highest months for animal collisions,” said Tyler McMurchy, manager, media relations with SGI.
While drivers should be alert and scanning for animals, McMurchy says they should also note yellow warning signs on highways that mark locations where animals are most likely to be crossing. He also advises that drivers "[Make] sure that they're able to use their high beams when they're on the highway so they can see for the maximum distance where it's safe to do so.”
If you do see an animal, slow down if you can. If you are able, honking on your horn may also work to startle the animal away from the area.
Animals often travel together, so it’s important to keep an eye out for more if you come across one.
If you don’t have time to stop, you need to be aware of nearby vehicles, too. “It's important to maintain control of the vehicle though, so not to swerve into either the oncoming lane or into the lane beside you if there is other traffic that you can pose a danger to. You want to maintain control of that vehicle so you don't end up in the ditch or rolling over,” said McMurchy.
Collisions with wildlife are commonplace in Saskatchewan, with an average of 16,547 per year according to SGI’s website.
McMurchy said most wildlife collisions recorded by SGI are related to deer, with more than 12,000 reported per year in Saskatchewan. Moose collisions are typically more severe but occur less frequently, with over 600 per year.
SGI’s website shows that on average there is one death and 367 injuries related to animal collisions in Saskatchewan every year, and over $83 million in insurance claims.