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Wildlife a hazard on Alberta highways

EDMONTON, Alta. -- The sudden appearance of a wild animal in the middle of a road is a driver's nightmare. With man...

EDMONTON, Alta. — The sudden appearance of a wild animal in the middle of a road is a driver’s nightmare. With many animals remaining active throughout the winter months, the reduced hours of sunlight create an increased hazard for collisions.

Many species tend to be more active at dawn or dusk, when driving visibility is poor and traffic volume is high. Over the past five years, more than one-third of collisions involving animals occurred between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m.

In 2004, six fatalities and 293 injury collisions involving wildlife were reported in Alberta. Wild animals are attracted to roads as it provides an easy route of travel, as well as an abundance of roadside forage.

The Alberta Government has taken steps to reduce the number of collisions with wildlife by installing fences, warning signs, roadside reflectors and maintaining vegetation control along highways. In addition, bushes and trees are cut back to allow motorists to see animals on either side of the road.

Even with the province’s attempts to reduce collisions, a number of other precautions can be taken while using the highway; including scanning the road and ditches ahead, slowing down around curves and honking in short bursts to chase animals away.

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