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Watch Out For Wildlife On California Roads

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Sonora, CA –It’s that time of year when the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) warns drivers to be aware of animals on state roads and highways impacted by the changing of clocks.

As drivers adjust to less daylight in the fall during the evening commute, state wildlife officials add that this is also the time of year when deer, elk, bears and other animals are typically on the move for migration, mating, or foraging. That is also when the number of vehicle-wildlife collisions increases on roadways.

Collisions with wildlife can be dangerous and costly for drivers, as CHP statistics show nearly 400 people were injured in more than two thousand collisions in 2019 involving wildlife. Also, the UC Davis Road Ecology Center estimates that the total annual cost of animal-vehicle crashes in California is about $250 million.

“Wildlife-vehicle collisions pose an increasingly significant threat to both people and wildlife and can result in serious injury or death. This time of year, large native species such as deer and elk are more likely to cross highways or roads during their mating season (rut), and black bears are on the search for food,” said Human-Wildlife Conflict Program Coordinator Vicky Monroe. “We ask drivers to remain cautious, vigilant, and aware of their surroundings while driving to help reduce this conflict.”

Standard driving safety tips that also benefit wildlife include:

  • Be extra alert when driving near areas where wildlife is frequent, such as streams and rivers, and reduce your speed, especially around curves.
  • Don’t text and drive! Leave your phone alone; it can wait.
  • Pay extra attention when driving during the morning and evening hours, when wildlife is often most active.
  • If you see an animal on or near the road, know that others may be following.
  • Don’t litter. Trash and food odors can attract animals to roadways.
  • Pay attention to road shoulders. Look for movement or reflecting eyes. Slow down and honk your horn if you see an animal on or near the road.
  • Respect wildlife. California is their home too.
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