Trends in Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Identifying patterns in wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) helps shed light on why and how these accidents occur. By taking a look at statistics and data, we can prepare ourselves for certain situations and help keep our roads safer for both humans and wildlife.

WVCs occur more frequently on low-volume roads; in fact, 89% of WVCs occur on two-lane roads. This may be because there are more two-lane roads in rural areas fringed by open space and wild habitat, and their thinner width is less of a barrier to wandering animals than a larger freeway or highway. WVCs are more common on straight, dry roads, perhaps because such stretches are more conducive to higher vehicle speeds.

WVCs tend to happen in the morning (5 – 9 a.m.) and evening (4 p.m. – 12 a.m.) because deer are more active during dusk (making them crepuscular animals) and there’s more traffic during those times. Since it’s harder to see in conditions of low light and headlights only have an illumination range of 200 – 250 feet, the Department of Motor Vehicles advises that drivers should “allow for sufficient brake time [and] reduce [their] speed to 45 mph at night — or even down to 30 mph when roads are icy.”

We always wish that we could get to where we’re going faster, but here at KYNN we also think that leaving early and driving more slowly is more than worth reducing the risk of an accident!

Aaron Huelsman

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