The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently issued a press release urging drivers to be alert and aware during Watch Out for Wildlife Week. Apparently, this time of year there is typically an increase in wildlife-vehicle collisions, as many animals are on the move to get to their winter migration habitats. Additionally, mating season for deer and elk is just starting, and bears are more actively foraging to prepare for hibernation. All of this adds up to a lot more wildlife activity on and near roadways in California.
Watch Out for Wildlife Week
This year, Watch Out for Wildlife Week runs from September 15 – 21st. Unfortunately, many popular roadways cut through animal routes. Drivers need to exercise additional vigilance now through December, which will be the busiest time for wild animals near roadways. Hitting a wild animal, especially the size of a deer or elk, isn’t just bad for the animal. It can cause significant damage to a vehicle and even cause injury or death to drivers and passengers.
California Wildlife Crash Statistics
- Between 2017 and 2018, 15 people died in collisions with animals on California roadways.
- During that same time frame, 810 people were injured in collisions with animals on state, county, and local roadways.
- There were 4,368 total collisions with animals and vehicles in California between 2017 and 2018.
- The total annual estimated cost of animal-vehicle conflicts in California is at least $307 million.
Be Extra Alert for Wildlife This Season
Caltrans has a ton of great tips for drivers to stay safe during a busy wildlife season. They recommend exercising additional vigilance near areas where wild animals are frequently found, like streams and rivers. This also includes reducing speed on curves. Try to be extra alert during morning and evening hours when animals are most active. Above all, never text and drive. A deer can jump into the roadway in the blink of an eye, and if you’re looking at your phone, you’re not paying attention to the road.
If you have been injured or if you have lost a loved one in a car accident in San Diego or anywhere along the Central Coast, contact the skilled and proven team at Harris Personal Injury Lawyers, Inc. at 1.800.GO.HARRIS for a free case consultation today.