There are plenty of hazards Canadian drivers have to face on the road. From turbulent weather conditions to negligent and distracted drivers, it can be difficult to remain defensive, especially when spending long hours behind the wheel. Truck drivers face increased difficulty, with cargo that can be challenging to manoeuvre and isolated routes that see more animals than people. If you are a truck driver who travels through areas with a lot of wildlife, or you are a car-owner taking on a road trip, read these useful tips to avoid and prevent collisions with animals.
3 Tips for Truck Drivers to Avoid Wildlife Collisions
- Take Precautions – Taking preventative measures can limit the risk of a damaging or fatal encounter with wildlife on the roads. Avoid driving or be more aware when wildlife collisions are most common, from 7:00 pm until midnight and around dusk or dawn when visibility is low and animals are active. Stay alert when driving along long and wide stretches of straight road. Ensure your vehicle is in good working order before long drives. Check that the lights, braking system, and horn are all functioning properly so that you can use them when you need them. Consider refreshing your truck driving skills or taking a defensive driving course to remind yourself of driving techniques and safety precautions before a long drive.
- Understand Animals – Slow your vehicle if you spot an animal along the side of the road. They may bolt unexpectedly and may not recognize your vehicle as a threat, leading them to take unpredictable actions. Remember that many animals, especially deer and bighorn sheep, travel in herds and one animal may indicate the presence of many more. Reduce your vehicle’s speed and mentally prepare for changing scenarios. Keep an eye out for dense forests, nearby water sources, and road signs that indicate the presence of animals.
- Use Your Vehicle – When it is safe, drive in the middle lane of three lane roads to keep your distance from the ditch. Blow your horn and flash your headlights to scare off animals that are nearby or blocking the road. Use high beams in dark, low-traffic areas and scan the road completely from left to right. If you cannot avoid a collision, try to avoid a head-on hit. Brake firmly, then release the brake before you hit the animal to reduce the likelihood of the animal coming through your windshield. Evasive swerving could cause more harm than good, especially when trying to avoid a deer or other small animal. If possible, however, consider swerving for moose which are much larger animals and can cause serious injury or death to motorists.
North Shore Driving School Ltd. offers truck driving courses in Abbotsford, Surrey, Coquitlam and surrounding areas to help you stay safe no matter what the road throws your way!