(COLORADO) –Seeing the reflection of two eyes from an animal on the road in front of you can send a wave of adrenaline and fear through even the most experienced drivers, so the Colorado State Patrol would like to assist by providing some general recommendations to lower the chance for a critter collision.
“So far this year, collisions with wildlife have increased 5.5% around the state,” warned Trooper Josh Lewis, Colorado State Patrol “Nighttime hours after 8 p.m. through the six a.m. hour seem to be highest times for these vehicle and animal interactions.”
Two of the most important things a motorist can do is to drive the speed limit and use your high beams when not around other motorists in rural areas or neighborhoods adjacent to open space areas. Increase your chances of seeing wildlife crossing up ahead or on the side of the road by staying alert. You can give yourself the time to adjust your speed or stop if no one is behind you.
“The worst choice you can make is to swerve outside your lane or slam on your brakes with vehicles behind you,” explained Trooper Lewis. “People can end up in serious crashes when they let their emotions take over to save Bambi or his friends.”
Be prepared to make a tough decision when encountering animals. If you have time and space you can sound your horn and slow down in a straight line, coming to a stop. If you have very little time and distance and no one is behind you, you can brake hard in a straight line. However, if there is little time and you have traffic behind you, the right choice is to drive through, keeping in the lane, but with a slight angle towards the butt of the animal ONLY if by the white side lane line. Never swerve or jerk the wheel.
While Colorado motorists can encounter animals across the state in a variety of rural and urban areas, two counties have experienced a significant increase in animal crashes in 2021. Logan County has doubled the number of crashes from last year and La Plata County has tripled.
Finally, know which seasons and times are worse than others. While no one wants to harm an animal, causing a more serious crash with oncoming traffic or vehicles behind you can lead to serious human injury and death.
ABOUT THE COLORADO STATE PATROL
Since our origin in 1935, the Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has focused on preserving human life and protecting property within our communities. Our 1,100 members embody the core values of Honor, Duty, and Respect in their daily jobs. In addition to our expertise in motor vehicle safety on the state’s roadways, the CSP is responsible for the Governor and other dignitaries’ protection, commercial motor vehicle enforcement, hazardous materials, homeland security, communications, investigative services, criminal interdiction, community education, aviation operations, and more. For additional information, visit us online at Colorado State Patrol or follow us on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Facebook.