SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – This upcoming Sunday, daylight saving time ends meaning Utahns will have an evening commute during lower-visibility hours. According to the Division of Wildlife Resources, November is the month with the highest number of vehicle/deer collisions in Utah, due to a variety of factors.
According to Daniel Olson, the DWR wildlife migration initiative coordinator, there is an increase of wildlife along roadways during the fall and winter months. He says that this is primarily due to big game animals migrating to lower elevations in search of feed. The migration period for deer is typically April and May and then again in November.
“The peak time to hit deer in Utah is around November,” Olson said. “It coincides with mating season and the migration. Animals are crossing more roads during the migration, and male deer move around a lot more to find mates. Plus, it doesn’t help that the daylight hours are shorter, creating lower visibility for drivers.”
The DWR says that deer are more active early in the morning and in the evenings, which coincides with busy commuting hours and low-light conditions.
As daylight saving time ends, check out these tips from Wild Aware Utah to help you avoid wildlife collisions:
- Be alert at dawn and at dusk.
- Heed wildlife crossing signs as they are usually placed in areas known to have a high volume of wildlife/vehicle collisions.
- Be alert on roadways near wooded, agricultural, and wetland areas and also near lakes and streams.
- Scan both sides of the road as you drive, invite passengers to help you watch for wildlife.
- Do not drive distracted, put away food, phones, and other distractions.
- When possible, use high-beam headlights to illuminate the road.
- Look for animal’s eyeshine, which can be seen from a distance.
- Some animals travel in groups, so be sure to watch for others if you see one animal.
- Do not throw trash out of your vehicle. Not only are there penalties for littering, but trash and food scraps can draw animals to roadways.
What to do if you do see an animal near or in the road:
- Do not swerve for a deer or small animal. Stay in your lane and slow down.
- If several animals are standing in the road, do not try to drive through them or get out of the vehicle to chase or herd them. Honk your horn and flash your lights to encourage them to move.
- If an animal has crossed the road, continue to drive slowly and be cautious because it may try to cross again.
What to do if you hit an animal:
- Pull off the road and use your hazards lights if your car is undriveable.
- Do not approach an injured animal.
- Call 911 or contact your local police department if you were injured or if the animal is in the roadway and could pose a threat to public safety.