Autumn often sees spike in dangerous collisions as animals are on the move, searching for food, mates and winter habitat
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —After a series of automobile-moose collisions on local highways culminated with the death of a woman from New Castle last month, wildlife managers and transportation officials warned highway travelers to be extra careful this time of year.
Collisions with wild animals often spike in the autumn as various species are on the move, searching for food and suitable winter habitat, or pursuing mates. Wildlife biologists think mating behavior may have contributed to the deadly accident near Frisco.
“There are roadside signs in the area, and across the state, warning drivers of these wildlife crossing areas,” said Sean Shepherd, Colorado Parks and Wildlife district manager for the area. “A tragedy like this is an unfortunate reminder of how serious collisions with animals can be.”
Although severe damage to vehicles from collisions with deer or elk is a common occurrence throughout Colorado, wildlife managers warn that hitting a moose can be especially dangerous.
“Because they are so tall and heavy, most cars that collide with a moose are totaled and the animal often lands on the passenger compartments,” Shepherd said. “We caution drivers to do all they can to avoid hitting any animal, especially a moose.”
In Summit County alone, vehicles have collided with at least six moose this year, including a young bull moose killed in the same area of I-70 the week before the recent fatality. According to Shepherd, all of the vehicles that collided with the moose were severely damaged.
“This is the time of year when it is especially important for drivers to be cautious by obeying speed limits, being aware of their surroundings, and observing signs warning of wildlife activity,” said CPW Northwest Regional Manager Ron Velarde. “For their own safety, people need to stay alert and watch the roads carefully.”
During wildlife migration season, motorists are urged to follow these important safety tips:
1. Slow down and stay alert, especially through these and other signed wildlife crossing areas;
2. Scan the roadway and roadsides ahead for signs of movement; watch for shining eyes of animals that reflect car headlights at night;
3. Do not swerve but rather brake gradually, maintaining control of the vehicle.
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, Environment, I-70, Summit County Colorado, Summit County news, transportation, wildlife Tagged: | Colorado, Colorado Department of Transportation, highways and wildlife, I-70, Summit County Colorado, transportation, wildlife, Wildlife crossing