Suggestions for Driving with
Wildlife in Mind
from a brochure produced by The Humane Society of the
Be alert. Look ahead as you drive, scanning the edges of roads
for wildlife about to cross. Such driving not only helps to avoid killing
wildlife, it also serves as an early warning system for other hazards: oncoming
traffic, children at play, bicyclists, and slow-moving vehicles.
Be especially watchful for wildlife at dawn, dusk, and in the
first few hours after darkness falls. many wild animals are particularly active
at these times.
Edges of roads that are bordered by natural habitat or
agricultural fields are places to be especially watchful for wildlife.
Assume that animals you encounter do not know to get out of your
way. Young animals, in particular, don't recognize that cars are a threat.
Look for the reflection of your headlights in the eyes of
animals near the road as an early warning that you may need to brake for an
animal crossing. Lowering your dash lights slightly will increase the likelihood
that you'll see this reflection.
Each mid- to late-fall, be especially watchful for deer. This is
not only their breeding season, but the start of hunting season; both make them
Remember to watch for other animals following the first one you
see; there may be a male in pursuit of a mate or young animals following their
Try to slow down, especially when driving after dark. Many
animals become victims of cars driven too fast.
If you do injure an animal...
First, do not put your safety at risk. Unless you can move the
animal out of the road in absolute safety, do not attempt to do so.
Use your emergency car lights or emergency road flares to warn
oncoming traffic of the injured animal.
Do not approach or attempt to handle an injured deer. Because of
the size and strength of deer, any handling poses a potential danger to your
If you need assistance, call the non-emergency number of the
local police department and describe the animal's location. The police are aware
that an injured animal is a traffic hazard and will arrive as soon as possible.
Stay in the area until they arrive.
If you attempt to rescue a small animal yourself, remember that
the animal does not know that you are trying to help and may bite or scratch in
self-defense. Use heavy gloves to protect yourself or avoid direct handling. An
old towel is also helpful if you need to move an injured animal.
Once the animal is out of the road, gently coax or place the
animal into a cardboard box, and transport it to a shelter, wildlife
rehabilitator, or a receptive local veterinarian. If a delay is necessary, keep
the animal in a dark, warm, quiet area to minimize fear and stress.
Fall is prime time to drive with deer in
White-tailed deer are one of the largest and now most familiar
wild animals encountered in our communities, attracted by the veritable
"salad bars" in our gardens and yards. Even on the trail of a tasty
azalea, most deer are careful crossing roads, but not in the fall. With the
onset of the "rut" or mating season, bucks chase does or other bucks,
paying no attention to where they are going. Hunting season also opens, and guns
fire, causing deer to panic and run. And young adult deer disperse to find new
territories. Keep these facts in mind as you "steer clear of deer".
For more info, visit the Humane
Society of United States website