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Tips on How to Avoid Accidents with Bambi, Yogi, and Wildlife

The Colorado Department of Transportation receives between 2,000 to 4,000 reports of wildlife-vehicle collisions each year. However, because many of these common causes of accidents are not reported the real number is likely much higher. Whether you are driving to Estes Park to enjoy the views, or spending a day on the slopes at A-Basin, the following tips will help you avoid an auto accident with the myriad of wildlife in Colorado.

1. Slow Down

Keep your speed under posted speed limits and make sure to reduce your speed further in inclement weather conditions. Speed is one of the most common causes of auto accidents so it’s crucial to give yourself plenty of time to stop in case a deer, elk, bear, or other animal darts into the road.

2. Scan the Road

Always be alert for animals near the road. If traveling with passengers, enlist their help in scanning bushes, along tree lines, etc. for animals lurking about. During low-light conditions, your headlights will reflect off the animal’s eyes which will help you see them a little easier.

3. Stay Extra Vigilant During Dawn and Dusk

Animals are most active during the early morning and early evening hours. Deer, elk, bears, and other animals tend to forage for food or search for shelter during these times. Further, pay attention to seasons. Fall and winter are when deer and elk are most active. These animals also tend to travel in herds which means if you see one, there are likely more nearby.

4. Don’t Rely on “Deer Whistles”

There are many “deer whistles” on the market that claim to reduce the risk of a collision with wildlife. However, most do not produce the results they advertise. While they won’t hurt anything, don’t count on them to be effective.

5. Honk Your Horn and Flash Your Lights

Honking your horn and flashing your lights in rapid succession can scare wildlife away from the roadway. When you do this, reduce your speed and closely monitor the direction the animals are moving. If they move towards the road, activate your emergency flashers and be prepared to make a full stop.

Animal strikes are among the most common causes of auto accidents in Colorado. We invite you to contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at (303) 447-1144 for more information on how to avoid these accidents and stay safe during your trips into the mountains.

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