Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week may be officially over, but the effort to make roads in America safer for wildlife and people is only ramping up. This year, tens of thousands of Americans contacted their governors to officially proclaim Watch Out for Wildlife Awareness Week in their states—and 25 governors across the country responded to the call! This response reflects just how many of us have been affected by wildlife-vehicle collisions. In fact, of the nearly 1,200 responders to a recent Facebook poll, 90 percent have either been in an accident involving wildlife or know someone who has.
But while not all wildlife-vehicle collisions can be prevented, there are many things drivers can do to reduce their chances of hitting an animal. Here are some basics:
- Drive slow and steady, and be alert to wildlife around you.
- Keep it clean and clear. Keep your windshield and headlights clean. Dim your interior dash lights and keep your dashboard clear of objects that will obstruct your view or cause a glare on the inside of your windshield and reduce visibility.
- Don’t litter. Even if that apple core IS biodegradable, it is also a tasty treat for a wild animal who will be attracted to the roadside where they are more likely to be hit.
- Don’t rely on deer whistles. We always have people suggest using deer whistles and swear by them. Unfortunately, no studies show they work.
- Speak up! If you drive through a roadkill zone where you frequently see several dead animals, write to your transportation agency and express your concerns. Ask what they are doing to reduce the impacts of roads on wildlife.
Defenders is committed to making our roads safer for wildlife and people. Whether building tunnels for endangered salamanders in Vermont to keeping moose away from cars in Alaska, we will continue to work to make sure wherever the destination, the journey is a safe one.