Wild animals are unpredictable and often cross roads in search of food and shelter, or to flee predators. Wildlife-vehicle collisions can result in the injury or death of people and animals and cause damage to vehicles.
Preventing conflicts on the road
When driving in areas with wildlife:
- Scan the road ahead of you – if you see wildlife or tracks of wildlife in the snow beside the road, drive slowly. Animals may unexpectedly bolt onto the road.
- Watch for yellow wildlife warning signs that indicate areas of increased risk.
- Use high beams at night where possible, and watch for the glowing eyes of animals.
- Watch your speed, and take extra precautions when driving at night when visibility is reduced.
- Take extra precautions when driving at dusk or dawn -- the time when when most wildlife collisions occur. Always stay alert while driving.
Handling conflicts on the road
In some situations, drivers do not have sufficient time to slow down to prevent striking an animal. If it is impossible to avoid a collision:
- Brake firmly and keep your car in control. It's dangerous to swerve suddenly to avoid hitting an animal.
- Call 911 if anyone is injured.
- If the animal is injured, do not try to help it. Wounded wildlife can be very dangerous. Call the local police or an MNR office if you need advice.
- If the animal is dead, only remove it from the road if you are able to do so without putting yourself or other drivers in danger. If you are unable to move an animal, notify the local police that there is an animal on the road.
- Inspect your vehicle for damage before driving away. You may wish to report your accident to the local police and your insurance company.
- If you want to keep the carcass of certain animals (e.g., big game, furbearing mammals, or raptors such as owls and hawks), you will need to register the possession by completing a "Notice of Possession" registration form. This form is available online.